Pharyngula

Whoa, dudes. Did you hear about the bats who have oral sex?

Oral sex is widely used in human foreplay, but rarely documented in other animals. Fellatio has been recorded in bonobos Pan paniscus, but even then functions largely as play behaviour among juvenile males. The short-nosed fruit bat Cynopterus sphinx exhibits resource defence polygyny and one sexually active male often roosts with groups of females in tents made from leaves. Female bats often lick their mate’s penis during dorsoventral copulation. The female lowers her head to lick the shaft or the base of the male’s penis but does not lick the glans penis which has already penetrated the vagina. Males never withdrew their penis when it was licked by the mating partner. A positive relationship exists between the length of time that the female licked the male’s penis during copulation and the duration of copulation. Furthermore, mating pairs spent significantly more time in copulation if the female licked her mate’s penis than if fellatio was absent. Males also show postcopulatory genital grooming after intromission. At present, we do not know why genital licking occurs, and we present four non-mutually exclusive hypotheses that may explain the function of fellatio in C. sphinx.

Read that carefully. If it’s a bit difficult to imagine, here’s a video:

Not only do female bats give male bats oral sex, but they do it while they’re having intercourse. The male enters the female from the rear, and the female bends over to lick the shaft of the penis while he’s thrusting in and out. I have never seen that in a porn film. Maybe there is such a thing out there — I can’t claim much knowledge of porn — but this means that animals not only carry out sexually activities condemned by the religious as unnatural, but they do it better than we do.


I have just done something very wicked. I have compared human sexual behavior with that of another animal, describing work published in a serious scientific journal. I could get fired for that! If you were to show this story to co-workers and discuss the implications, you also could get condemned and sanctioned. We’re in trouble now!

You may find that hard to believe, but it’s true in at least one case: Dylan Evans, at University College Cork, in an argument about the uniqueness of human behavior, brought this article up, and his opponent shut him down by crying harassment, triggering an investigation. He was exonerated, but the university president has decided he needs to be sanctioned anyway.

Here’s the story straight from the target.

Dear Colleagues,

The President of University College Cork, Professor Michael Murphy, has imposed harsh sanctions on me for doing nothing more than showing an article from a peer-reviewed scientific article to a colleague.

The article was about fellatio in fruit bats. You can read it online at http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0007595

It was covered extensively in the media, including the Guardian – see http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/nov/10/oral-sex-bats-improbable-research

The colleague to whom I showed the article complained to HR that the article was upsetting. I had been engaged in an ongoing debate with the colleague in question about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour, and in particular about the dubiousness of many claims for human uniqueness. I showed it the colleague in the context of this discussion, and in the presence of a third person. I also showed the article to over a dozen other colleagues on the same day, none of whom objected.

HR launched a formal investigation. Despite the fact that external investigators concluded that I was not guilty of harassment, Professor Murphy has imposed a two-year period of intensive monitoring and counselling on me, and as a result my application for tenure is likely to be denied.

I am now campaigning to have the sanctions lifted. I would be grateful for your support on this matter. I have created an online petition at:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/freedebate/

I’d be grateful if you sign the petition and ask your colleagues to do so. If you also felt like writing directly to the President of UCC, his address is:

Professor Michael Murphy
The President’s Office
University College Cork
Cork
Republic of Ireland.

Your support would be greatly appreciated.

Dylan Evans

Oh, well, the article was upsetting. Can’t have that; science articles are supposed to be affirming and soothing, I guess.

If you find the president’s actions unwarranted and ridiculous, sign the petition and write to him. And please, do feel free to discuss bat porn all you want.


Several of the documents in case are now available online.

Comments

  1. #1 Joey Mack
    May 15, 2010

    Aw this gives me a great idea for my next porn project! The Adventures of Buttman and Rubbin! Crap it’s already been done! Porn, it’s so hard to come up with anything original…

    Yeah I’ll sign that we can’t let these kind of people affect the homeostasis of coolness in society. If you can’t handle it just stay at home, get a good internet filter and blow up your television.

  2. #2 cafemolotov
    May 15, 2010

    I guess this explains my fascination with Batman and Batgirl comics!

  3. #3 Cuttlefish, OM
    May 15, 2010

    Wait… we can’t compare human sex to that of other critters? But… but… I already have!

    http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2010/03/it-must-be-spring.html

  4. #4 MAJeff, OM
    May 15, 2010

    The thing everyone should keep in mind about university administrators is that they tend to be cowards.

  5. #5 speedweasel
    May 15, 2010

    The colleague to whom I showed the article complained to HR that the article was upsetting.

    No cry-babies in science. Harden the fuck up.

  6. #6 RijkswaanVijanD
    May 15, 2010

    These are probably the kind of people who would punish their dog for licking his balls simply because the sight of it makes them feel so inferior..

  7. #7 the_leander
    May 15, 2010

    Last I checked, “eeewww gross” wasn’t considered a scientifically valid argument.

    This President really aught to have sanctioned the other professor for filing a frivolous harassment claim. I’d also be looking long and hard at taking legal action against both this colleague and the President over this if nothing is sorted in quick order.

  8. #8 Romeo Vitelli
    May 15, 2010

    Oh well, at least he wasn’t arrested for blasphemy. That’s illegal in Ireland too.

  9. #9 Cuttlefish, OM
    May 15, 2010

    This deserved something new–
    http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2010/05/batty-problem.html

    Birds do it; bees do it; bats do it too?
    And pretty much anything down at the zoo
    From Galapagos Tortoise to Red Kangaroo
    Seems plenty of creatures have fun when they screw

    The sexual prowess of hamster or rat
    Or the lust of a Tom, whether turkey or cat?
    But whatever you do, be advised when you chat
    Not to speak of the human along with the bat

    The world all around us is vast and complex
    And it?s filled up with species that like having sex?
    And scholars who talk about some of the specs
    Shouldn?t fear that the axe will descend on their necks

    The facts are the facts, and there?s no need to quarrel;
    Or hide what we?re meaning, in verbiage floral?
    It cannot mean someone is more or less moral
    For noting both humans and bats enjoy oral

    But just cast your eyes upon U. College Cork,
    Where discussions of bats and their sexual torque?
    The gymnastic maneuvers they ply when they pork?
    Might imply we have babies through sex, not through stork

    If you?d like to express with me, strong opposition,
    Upholding the freedom that?s long been tradition
    (Cos no one expects the Bat Sex Inquisition!)
    Please follow the link, then, and sign the petition.

  10. #10 andrastewhite
    May 15, 2010

    Once when we were visiting the Toronto Zoo, my friends and I witnessed a pair of sun bears in a 69.

    I have no idea if they engage in oral sex in the wild, but I did learn that they have really long tongues.

  11. #11 dark&twisty
    May 15, 2010

    Cuttlefish,

    That made my night :).

  12. #12 ereador
    May 15, 2010

    Yes speedweasel @#5, there is no crying in science. The fact that animals have sex should be at the very least unsurprising. I continue to fail to see where the prudes get their urges.

  13. #13 evansmic
    May 15, 2010

    Oral sex is widely used in human foreplay

    That should be corrected to read

    Oral sex is widely used in pre-marital human foreplay

  14. #14 Louis
    May 15, 2010

    I feel that this demonstrates that humans are far superior to bats.

    When a boy bat has sex with a lady bat and the lady bat licks the shaft of the boy bat’s penis during coitus, this is a thing to be admired and all well and good. However, we humans have evolved the capacity to bring in a whole other person to lick the shaft of the penis during coitus. And even better than that, it doesn’t have to be a boy human having sex with a girl human, it can be literally any permutation of the sexes.

    Go go Homo sapiens! Fuck you bats….Fuck youuu!

    Louis

    P.S. Although surely a contortionist lady exists who can accomplish this…I’m afraid to google it.

  15. #15 Darren Garrison
    May 15, 2010

    I feel bad for the guy (and contempt for those who sanctioned him) but internet petitions are as useless as internet polls.

    http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/petition/internet.asp

  16. #16 ERV
    May 15, 2010

    Other people are so much nicer than me.

    There is no excuse for what the accuser did, from any perspective. I would be plastering their pussy name and what they did everywhere, and fuck if I would refer to them as a ‘colleague’.

  17. #17 Hank Fox
    May 15, 2010

    The fact that he words every reference to this person who complained as a “colleague,” leads me to believe the colleague is female.

    I feel for the guy, but I also think he should have been more careful.

    It’s possible that this woman is a hair-trigger professional victim, but it’s also possible that he presented the material with a bit of leering spin that really did offend her.

    However inoffensive we all think this scientific study is, I can imagine women being offended if the thing was shoved in their faces as an unwanted advance.

    I’d have to bow out on further action or opinion without knowing more about the facts and nuances of the situation.

  18. #18 Emil Karlsson
    May 15, 2010

    Utterly fascinating, I had no idea.

  19. #19 Bartholomew
    May 15, 2010

    Don’t forget the famous auto-fellating walrus:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ros73m7xBRA

    (NSFW at University College Cork)

  20. #20 cat1082
    May 15, 2010

    Once again bats have shown us the way. I’ve been using bats as an example against the idea that only humans have morality and sense of community for years. I was unaware they were capable of such exotic copulation as well!
    Apparently vampire bats, when returned to their roost after feeding, will share some of their blood with any bat who didn’t get enough to survive. That bat then remembers which bat was kind to them and, if that kind bat is in the same position some other night, they give that bat some of their blood. But if the bat that was helped refuses to share his blood in the above scenario, the other bats remember that and never help that bat out again. What’s that? Biological imperative to cooperate as part of a society?

  21. #21 OurDeadSelves
    May 15, 2010

    Bats are so cool!

    … And apparently the University College Cork is not. Seriously? When did we get to the point where scientific learning and understanding was only used to make us comfortable and only used to reinforce our ideals?

  22. #22 kilternkafuffle
    May 15, 2010

    I’m with Hank Fox.

    While we can immediately agree that the idea of human uniqueness is silly and that offense at a science article is double-plus silly (Learned persons so offended by the idea of animal copulation don’t deserve their credentials.), the details are unclear here.

    We don’t know whether the guy was going “hey look even the bats are doing it – nothing wrong with a couple humans doing it either, you know what I mean?” *wink-wink*

    Men and women should have an equal right to be offended, but women deserve slightly more wiggle room on the question of sexual harassment.

    And the conviction by Pr. Murphy, who’s more likely to know the story personally, makes me increasingly suspicious. Maybe that’s naive, but I think it’s more likely that he punished him for telltale harassment rather than over a disagreement about human uniqueness.

  23. #23 Teshi
    May 15, 2010

    I also think the “colleague” was female and am reasonably wary that this could be less religious and more sexual.

    However, the guy does say that she thought the “article” was upsetting (rather than him) and also that this was part of a long argument (which suggests he or she doesn’t think that there is a connection between humans and animals, which is pretty bizarre). But we are getting his viewpoint only.

  24. #24 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    This is one of those stories that immediately sets off my “there’s probably WAY more to the story than meets the eye” alarms.

  25. #25 Illuminatus
    May 15, 2010

    That there might have been some low-grade actual harassment (intentional or otherwise) seems possible – but let’s not forget that he was cleared by the external investigators.

  26. #26 broboxley OT
    May 15, 2010

    bats are not the only creatures that give head, female giraffes also like to lick a little lovin. As far as humans go there are a few ladies that can self wrap out there. Not many tho

  27. #27 john.marley
    May 15, 2010

    @ Hank Fox and kilternkafuffle:

    Did you read the part where the external investigators determined that there was no harassment?

    What details are unclear?

  28. #28 mck9
    May 15, 2010

    Here’s the comment I added when I signed the petition:

    It isn’t fair to sanction anyone for discussing material that has not been forbidden in advance. How is one to know what is permitted? UCC should publish an Index of Forbidden Works; or, in the alternative, an Index of Permissible Works, as the latter may be shorter and more manageable. The compilation should reflect, not only sexual prudishness, but religious bigotry as embodied in the Irish blasphemy laws. Filter the Internet rigorously; thoroughly search everyone’s offices, and burn any offending material in the public square.

  29. #29 Caine, Fleur du mal
    May 15, 2010

    How utterly ridiculous. It’s bad enough the Pearl Clutchers&trade are given undue benefit; it’s worse when they’re given the benefit thanks to crying foul simply because they didn’t have a good argument.

  30. #30 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #25

    but let’s not forget that he was cleared by the external investigators

    They may have had a different mandate. OJ got acquitted in one trial, and found guilty in another.

    I think this is a typical case of ‘not enough information’, we ONLY got to hear a rather vague and dodgy version from ONE side of the story.
    If you want to sign that petition, fairness demands that you first hear the complaining side, as well as read the formal complaint.

    Personally .. (and I’m NOT saying this IS a similar case here) I can see a bunch of young med students showing porn to each other, making juvenile jokes about it, and the 1 female in the group of 14 takes objection and complains. I can then also see the defense and hiding behind ‘purely medical observations’.
    Faculty can be juvenile too. And I find it VERY hard to believe that a president of a college orders a TWO YEAR INTENSIVE period of monitoring and counseling (!!) for simply showing relevant-to-the-discussion peer-reviewed scientific articles to colleagues.

    Bottom line: not enough information. Story is too fishy. I would bet money on there being more to the story, to the point that most signers of that petition would regret their action, had they known more.

    Just saying.

  31. #31 Arachobia
    May 15, 2010

    The fact that such a stupid accusation got anywhere is highly demeaning to all science in general. Have we really not lost any conceit since Galileo ‘dared’ to suggest that Earth (or perhaps it should be read here as ‘the planet over which humans rule by the grace of almighty god’) was not the center of the universe?

  32. #32 otrame
    May 15, 2010

    @17

    However inoffensive we all think this scientific study is, I can imagine women being offended if the thing was shoved in their faces as an unwanted advance.

    Yes, because we females are so fragile and so easily offended by even academic discussions of sex and we have to be protected by big strong administrators and we have a right to ruin somebody’s career over it because we are delicate and have to be treated with great care because we all think sex is just nasty and…

    Aaarrrggghhhh.

    Personally, I find the quoted sentence offensive. But guess what. I am not going to chase down Hank Fox and try to get him fired. I’m just going to make fun of him.

    Okay. If the article was shown to a number of people (presumably because it is cool and, oh, yes, open to silly discussions of whether human females could do it) and if it was presented as part of an ongoing discussion of animal (including human) sexuality, then the colleague, whether male or female, needs to grow the fuck up.

    Even assuming he was being fairly nasty about it, leering etc., unless he used it as an excuse to explicitly suggest that the colleague in question should try it out with him it’s not harassment. Even if he did, it is inappropriate behavior worthy of a verbal slap on the hand if it was a first time.

    The only situation in which this could be worthy of sanctions is if the guy had used articles about sexuality as a way to open discussions that the colleague had found offensive in the past and the colleague had asked the guy not to show him or her such articles in the future and did not wish to discuss such articles. In that case, yeah, it’s harassment and have at him. But in that case the investigation would have brought that up. Given that he was cleared by said investigation of harassment then how does the administrator justify sanctions? Because the colleague didn’t like the article? Because of, as the_leander said, the “Ewwww” factor. Again. Grow up.

    Though I have to tell you that anyone, male or female, who can’t handle a situation like that with a colleague (not a supervisor) has some serious interpersonal issues. Still, if the person in question did not have it in him or her to tell the fucker to back off in no uncertain and very public terms, then the administration should, indeed, have stepped in. But if that is what was going on, he wouldn’t have been cleared, now would he?

    Sexual harassment is a real problem and allowing something like this to be taken as sexual harassment belittles real sexual harassment.

  33. #33 Frank b
    May 15, 2010

    I agree with Illuminatus. It IS a serious scientific article, it is about bats. A large group of people were also shown the article. The external investigators cleared him. That tips the scales for me.

    But there still are questions. If the complaint was just about the article, that is a no-brainer, but did the complainer complain about his behavior? I have seen lots of low grade harassment around a bunch of crude guys, if that is what’s happening, the complainer needs to say that.

  34. #34 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #27:

    Did you read the part where the external investigators determined that there was no harassment?
    What details are unclear?

    The problem is: there ARE no details.
    And we don’t know anything about the external investigation either! What were they looking for? Criminal behavior? Maybe there was nothing done against the law, but that could still mean he violated College policy.

    I would have expected people here (including PZ) to say: “we need more data first in order to form an informed opinion”.
    Aren’t most of you here scientifically inclined: going where the data points, even if that ruins a perfectly sensational and feel-good story?

  35. #35 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #25

    That there might have been some low-grade actual harassment

    Right. There might have been. There also might have been NO harassment whatsoever. There also might have been some rather severe harassment.

    The point being: we simply don’t know. At least not enough to form an opinion about the case.

  36. #36 TMK
    May 15, 2010

    Harassment for discussing a natural phenomenon in animals conducted as part of a scientific study… very disturbing.

    I showed this video, about recreational sex in animals, in one of my classes without complaint.

    http://www.scienceinseconds.com/video.php?vId=131&tId=
    geez – lighten up UCC!

  37. #37 Tulse
    May 15, 2010

    I too find the one-sided account given way too vague to be able to have an informed opinion. I don’t care how many other “colleagues” might have seen the article or what their reactions were — what matters is the context. If it were “Dr. Smith, regarding our long-standing debate, here is an article on human-like sexual behaviour in bats that I think speaks to the issue”, then that’s one thing, but if it were “Hey Judy, look, even chick bats are willing to lick cock, so what are you so hung up about?”, that would be another. My guess (and it’s only a guess, since Murphy provides next-to-no context) is that it is somewhere in between — not directly actionable sexual harassment, but not appropriate collegial behaviour.

  38. #38 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #31

    The fact that such a stupid accusation got anywhere is highly demeaning to all science in general

    Right! It’s outrageous! To the point one should wonder, did this EXTRAORDINARILY OUTRAGEOUS fact occur? Is this a valid claim of abused power (amongst other outrageous things)?

    And while the answer MAY be ‘yes': Extraordinary claims STILL require Extraordinary evidence.

    Of which we were offered NONE!

  39. #39 Matt Penfold
    May 15, 2010

    And while the answer MAY be ‘yes': Extraordinary claims STILL require Extraordinary evidence.

    Of which we were offered NONE!

    Like we were offered no evidence the police were involved, yet that did not stop you speculating they were.

    I suggest you take you own advice.

  40. #40 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #Tulse. Excellent example!

    And since we don’t HAVE the details, all we can do is look at plausibility.

    To ANYONE who has or wants an opinion on this:

    WHAT do you think is the most LIKELY of these two scenarios:

    1. A discussion-relevant peer-reviewed article is referred to in order to make a scientific point.

    OR:

    2. The “Hey Judy, look ..” scenario,

    Given the fact that in both cases a participant complains about sexual harassment to HR, which is taken seriously enough to trigger an external investigation, and which in addition leads to a two year period of monitoring and counseling of the accused?

    Whatever the opinion you arrive at, it’s STILL just pure speculation.
    IMHO, not enough to sign ANY petition over.

  41. #41 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #39

    Like we were offered no evidence the police were involved, yet that did not stop you speculating they were

    We were indeed offered NO evidence the police were involved. Nowhere. And how did my “And we don’t know anything about the external investigation either!” speculate they were, exactly?

    I suggest you take you own advice

    I suggest you read what people actually write.

  42. #42 Hank Fox
    May 15, 2010

    Heh. Otrame #32 said “… needs to grow the fuck up.”

    Yeah, all you fragile people out there, Otrame says you need to grow the fuck up. So just grow the fuck up, you hear? That’s all you need to do: Grow the fuck up. Be like Otrame, that fountain of wisdom and life advice. You just need to grow the fuck up.

    Jeez, I can feel it helping me already. I am growing the fuck up.

    Speaking of “fragile” people, I was painfully shy all the way into my late 20s, early 30s. Hell, when I was a teenager, I could blush like a fire hydrant — you could see it across an auditorium. Knowing I was going to be presented with an award, I once RAN AND HID to keep from appearing in front of a bunch of strangers. And I can’t tell you how often I got the same type of great advice from friendly philistines — “You just need to be more outgoing! Be bolder! Man up!” — and how much it helped. Not.

    It?s with that shy, wimpy, hypersensitive history in mind that I?m able to consider the POSSIBILITY that there really was a victim in this case, and empathize with her (or him, if it was a guy). As I clearly said, I don?t think I have enough information to be CERTAIN that everything happened here as the one side of it reported.

    I only pointed out an alternate possibility in the story. Hardly reason to go nuclear in a reply.

  43. #43 Matt Penfold
    May 15, 2010

    We were indeed offered NO evidence the police were involved. Nowhere. And how did my “And we don’t know anything about the external investigation either!” speculate they were, exactly?

    Of dear. Did you forget this ?

    “And we don’t know anything about the external investigation either! What were they looking for? Criminal behavior? Maybe there was nothing done against the law, but that could still mean he violated College policy.” Emphasis mine.

    That is clearly speculation the police were involved, so please do not try to claim otherwise.

    I suggest you try being honest about what you have said. It is rather stupid of you to lie about these things, when we have the evidence of what you did say.

  44. #44 Alice Shortcake
    May 15, 2010

    Cuttlefish:

    Bat Sex Inquisition

    Yet another inspired band name!

  45. #45 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    I’m with dutchdoc et al. There’s nowhere near enough information, and that provided makes me suspicious – especially this:

    I had been engaged in an ongoing debate with the colleague in question about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour, and in particular about the dubiousness of many claims for human uniqueness.

  46. #46 Hank Fox
    May 15, 2010

    Hey, speaking of a totally different aspect of this story, I’m curious:

    How many people here think sexual harassment — which is rife in the animal kingdom — just may be natural behavior for human males?

  47. #47 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #43

    It is rather stupid of you to lie about these things

    What were they looking for? Criminal behavior?

    Did you notice the question marks? Does that sound to you as an affirmative suggestion on my behalf that I thought this was the case? It’s EMPHASIZING what is so CLEARLY stated in the preceding sentence: “We don’t know ANYTHING about the investigation ..
    For you to say I’m LYING and AM saying that the police WERE involved, well .. that strikes ME as stupid! (and irrelevant)

    Do I REALLY have to explain all this?

    I guess so, (I’ll bite) here goes:

    What you saw there was an answer to the generalized question brought up by various people: “HOW is it possible that the President of the college reaches a different verdict than the external investigations” (as if that wouldn’t be possible).
    I merely gave an EXAMPLE of how that is possible. Only one example (since that’s enough). Being: “the external investigators and the president could have had different criteria to consider”.
    NOWHERE did I indicate or even suggest that I thought the police were involved (mostly because it’s COMPLETELY irrelevant to the story, I have no idea why you even brought it up).

    Let me give you one more example of this kind of statement:

    Q: How can we disprove evolution?
    A: Be finding a rabbit fossil in a Cambrian stratum.

    That answer, my friend, does NOT mean that the person giving that answer actually believes or even suggests or speculates that there actually ARE rabbit fossils in Cambrian strata.

    To call that person then dishonest, a liar and stupid is .. well .. not so smart.

  48. #48 grania.0
    May 15, 2010

    I feel I have to chip in as I know the person in question. I understand that people who don’t know him or anything of the surrounding story feel wary of signing a petition without knowing the full circumstances, and that is fair enough. I don’t blame you.
    However, he has been very open and has posted the original official complaint & several other relevant documents in full on his Facebook page and there is nothing even remotely criminal about the case, it is a clear-cut case of a female colleague feeling “harassed” even though she admits she never actually expressed this to him or asked him to leave her alone.
    He was cleared of the charge but the college has nevertheless applied sanctions to him that will be very damaging to him and his career.

    The colleague in question is over-sensitive and over-reacted in my opinion, but even if she has been upset by this incident; it in no way justifies trashing the academic reputation of Dylan Evans.

  49. #49 Knockgoats
    May 15, 2010

    I signed: it seems to me that if an external investigation has cleared you of harassment, you should not be punished. FWIW (very very little, I know), I’ve met Dylan Evans a couple of times and he seemed a nice guy. Here is his home page.

  50. #50 Pygmy Loris
    May 15, 2010

    otrame,

    Even assuming he was being fairly nasty about it, leering etc., unless he used it as an excuse to explicitly suggest that the colleague in question should try it out with him it’s not harassment. Even if he did, it is inappropriate behavior worthy of a verbal slap on the hand if it was a first time.

    I do not know how sexual harassment is defined in Ireland, but over here there’s something called a hostile work environment. Sexual harassment doesn’t have to be aimed specifically at a person to qualify as harassment.

    I, too, am reserving judgment on this. There are not enough details and I find it hard to believe this man was given a two year period of monitoring and counseling simply because he discussed a science article with a colleague.

  51. #51 Matt Penfold
    May 15, 2010

    Did you notice the question marks? Does that sound to you as an affirmative suggestion on my behalf that I thought this was the case? It’s EMPHASIZING what is so CLEARLY stated in the preceding sentence: “We don’t know ANYTHING about the investigation ..”
    For you to say I’m LYING and AM saying that the police WERE involved, well .. that strikes ME as stupid! (and irrelevant)

    Do I REALLY have to explain all this?

    I guess so, (I’ll bite) here goes:

    I did notice the question mark, which why I said you were speculating about police involvement. A criminal investigation would have involved the police, so speculation about a criminal investigation is speculation about police involvement.

    I was hoping you were going to be sensible, but instead you have chosen to dig yourself a deeper hole.

    You are correct, we know nothing about the investigation. Which I why I took you to task over your speculation of police involvement. Clearly you are one those people who think he can tell others not to speculate but is so egotistical he sees no reason to avoid speculation himself. Well fuck your arrogance.

    Now, take your lies and fuck off.

  52. #52 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    However, he has been very open and has posted the original official complaint & several other relevant documents in full on his Facebook page

    Could you or someone maybe reproduce the important parts here?

  53. #53 secularguy
    May 15, 2010

    ?natural behavior for human males??

    I’m no <relevant degree>, but doesn’t the word “natural” usually mean anything not caused or influenced by humans? ? so a little hard to say what “natural human behaviour” would mean? ? maybe like we would behave without civilization? ? like if you grew up without contact with human society or something?

  54. #54 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #49:

    it seems to me that if an external investigation has cleared you of harassment, you should not be punished. FWIW (very very little, I know), I’ve met Dylan Evans a couple of times and he seemed a nice guy

    I admit that knowing the guy probably gives you a slight edge in forming an opinion.

    But again: we don’t know the external investigation’s criteria. They MAY (I’m NOT saying they were!!!) have been looking at it from a legal point of view. That would still leave a possibility for violating college policy.

    There are various reasons for which my company can ‘punish’ me! Even if I don’t do ANYTHING illegal. All I have to do is violate company policy. (like watching porn! ;-) )

  55. #55 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #51

    Well fuck your arrogance.
    Now, take your lies and fuck off

    I admire your style and the deepness of your logic and perception.
    I feel SOOO totally out-classed.

  56. #56 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    And can anyone maybe provide an explanation of how this article is pertinent to an “ongoing debate…about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour, and in particular about the dubiousness of many claims for human uniqueness”? I’ve been trying to come up with something, but I’m drawing a blank. I guess I’d need to know more about the specific debate. What did he see as its relevance?

  57. #57 Mattir
    May 15, 2010

    I, too, am reserving judgment on this. There are not enough details and I find it hard to believe this man was given a two year period of monitoring and counseling simply because he discussed a science article with a colleague.

    I had a tenured professor in graduate school who made every female whom he spoke with to feel like she needed to go take a shower. Tenured professors with more seniority, graduate students, the cleaning ladies – everyone. All of these people figured that they were just being oversensitive until someone finally complained (I think after he kissed a grad student on the forehead during a discussion of an academic problem). No male student or colleague had any problem with the guy, and it was hard to ascertain what about the guy was so massively creepy, apart from the kissing incident, of course. The university ended up allowing the guy to transfer to another department with some ongoing monitoring of his conduct.

    So I agree – we don’t have enough information, and it’s possible that the guy’s behavior with females (or some other subset of colleagues) was off. Or not.

    Oh, and I’ve learned over the years that it’s a really bad idea to argue with people who insist that evolutionary biology has little or no bearing on our understanding of human behavior. They are just about as bad as young-earth-creationists. So argue online, in the mainstream media, in peer-reviewed literature, and even in the classroom (carefully). Just don’t argue in one-on-one discussions unless you like wasting time and risking sexual harassment charges (if you’re male) or accusations of being complicit with the oppressor (if you’re female).

  58. #58 Knockgoats
    May 15, 2010

    I signed: it seems to me that if an external investigation has cleared you of harassment, you should not be punished. FWIW (very very little, I know), I’ve met Dylan Evans a couple of times and he seemed a nice guy. Here is his home page.

  59. #59 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #56

    .. provide an explanation of how this article is pertinent to an “ongoing debate…about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour ..

    Why? It never was to begin with.
    See the title of PZ’s post.
    It’s about Academic Freedom.

  60. #60 Matt Penfold
    May 15, 2010

    I admire your style and the deepness of your logic and perception.
    I feel SOOO totally out-classed.

    Well, when it comes to class I cannot out compete you. I simply cannot match claiming there might have been a criminal investigation and then denying I suggested any such thing. Nor can I match you class in speculating whilst telling everyone else to stop doing so.

    Nope, no way could I do not that. I am not dishonest enough nor stupid enough. But you, you are dishonest enough and stupid enough for the both of office.

    I will leave the field. I have been vanquished by one more adept at lies than me.

  61. #61 Knockgoats
    May 15, 2010

    Sorry about the double post.

    How many people here think sexual harassment — which is rife in the animal kingdom — just may be natural behavior for human males? – Hank Fox

    Beyond reflexes, human beings don’t have “natural behavior” – in the sense that everything else is culturally mediated. In another sense, of course, everything we do, including both sexual harassment and objecting to/punishing people for sexual harassment, is “natural behavior”

  62. #62 Matt Penfold
    May 15, 2010

    Why? It never was to begin with.
    See the title of PZ’s post.
    It’s about Academic Freedom.

    Oh dear. You really are being an arse today.

    Quoting Dylan Evan’s from PZ’s post:

    “The colleague to whom I showed the article complained to HR that the article was upsetting. I had been engaged in an ongoing debate with the colleague in question about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour, and in particular about the dubiousness of many claims for human uniqueness. I showed it the colleague in the context of this discussion, and in the presence of a third person. I also showed the article to over a dozen other colleagues on the same day, none of whom objected.” [Emphasis mine]

  63. #63 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 15, 2010

    Why? It never was to begin with.
    See the title of PZ’s post.
    It’s about Academic Freedom.

    Or you could READ past the title to actual body of the post.

    You may find that hard to believe, but it’s true in at least one case: Dylan Evans, at University College Cork, in an argument about the uniqueness of human behavior, brought this article up,

    and

    The colleague to whom I showed the article complained to HR that the article was upsetting. I had been engaged in an ongoing debate with the colleague in question about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour, and in particular about the dubiousness of many claims for human uniqueness. I showed it the colleague in the context of this discussion, and in the presence of a third person. I also showed the article to over a dozen other colleagues on the same day, none of whom objected.

  64. #64 irenedelse
    May 15, 2010

    And can anyone maybe provide an explanation of how this article is pertinent to an “ongoing debate…about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour, and in particular about the dubiousness of many claims for human uniqueness”? I’ve been trying to come up with something, but I’m drawing a blank. I guess I’d need to know more about the specific debate. What did he see as its relevance?

    There are a lot of claims about human uniqueness in nature. Most are in the realm of cognition, language and other intellectual functions, but also about interpersonal relationships. And, related to this, in sexuality. Not very long ago, people (even scientists) believed that Homo sapiens was the only animal who could have sex for other purposes than reproduction. Well, the bonobos taught us differently!

  65. #65 kilternkafuffle
    May 15, 2010

    Taking grania.o’s story into account, it seems that the issue is entirely about the definition of harassment, and has nothing to do with “bat sex” being “protected by academic freedom”, which is what we all really care about.

    I’m willing to withhold judgment of Dylan Evans, particularly for lack of facts, but I can’t assess the judgment of either the external investigation or the university president. Maybe it was a rushed judgment, but the president isn’t a child and is presumably impartial. (It is highly dubious that he would, as stated by dutchdoc, be assigned two years of intensive counseling over an academic disagreement.)

    Maybe Evans is innocent, but we as members of the online community don’t have enough of a reason to act (particularly by signing online petitions). Overturning a verdict as unjust warrants more evidence, IMHO.

  66. #66 redrabbitslife
    May 15, 2010

    I’m female. I’ve been sexually (and otherwise) harassed in the workplace. I know how a “hostile work environment” feels.

    But you know, I think a hostile work environment might also count as one wherein colleagues are terrified to joke and discuss real issues and disagree because one person has a hair-trigger “I’m tellin'” reaction.

    I would have thought there are a number of things to do first before an official complaint. Granted, I don’t know the workplace in question, but I imagine after a complaint like that, it would be difficult for either of them to carry on working there.

  67. #67 irenedelse
    May 15, 2010

    How many people here think sexual harassment — which is rife in the animal kingdom — just may be natural behavior for human males? – Hank Fox

    How many people here think that Hank Fox is just arguing for argument’s sake?

  68. #68 darthcynic
    May 15, 2010

    I will preface the following with the caveat that it is largely speculation.

    As has been pointed out we are not in possession of both sides on this story, just one and that is the alleged injured party. However we have been informed that he was cleared by an external investigation into the claim made against him and that they found him guiltless.

    I can think of one reason ? though there may be others ? for such an external investigation. He had been investigated by the university’s own HR department and found guilty of the charge, and then subsequently appealed this as he has every right to. This may then have necessitated engaging an external investigation to impartially assess the claim but on the same grounds as the university had done, and not under criminal law; they did so and found against the claim. This decision would then appear to not have been to the university heads liking and he is said to have meted out a two year monitor and counseling punishment. It could be, though I am honestly just wildly speculating that by appealing the initial verdict Dr Evans has not endeared himself to the president. Anyhoo Dr Evans would now appear to be taking this higher, to the Labour Relations Commission that we have here in Ireland.

    If he was found innocent by an external investigator then that would appear to be it, and the university is acting inappropriately to say the least.

  69. #69 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #63 (and, of course, #62)

    Or you could READ past the title to actual body of the post

    Yes, that phrase appears in the post.
    That doesn’t mean that that’s what PZ’s post is all about. That’s not why he mentioned it.

    It’s about academic freedom (culminating in asking us to sign a petition concerning academic freedom).

    Things like “penetrating the vagina”, “fellatio” and “licking her mate’s penis” are ALSO to be found in the post. You’d ALMOST think the post was about sex.
    It’s NOT! It’s about academic freedom.

  70. #70 irenedelse
    May 15, 2010

    @ kilternkafuffle:

    It is highly dubious that he would, as stated by dutchdoc, be assigned two years of intensive counseling over an academic disagreement.

    Beware of the “he’s-punished-so-he-must-have-done-something-bad” logic, here. It may not have been a “purely” academic disagreement… and it may have been a case of faculty authority using whatever excuse they have at hand to bring down a peg or two a professor they don’t like.

    Since we don’t have that much data, it’s as likely a scenario as the one hypothesized by Hank Fox and dutchdoc.

  71. #71 grania.0
    May 15, 2010

    it seems that the issue is entirely about the definition of harassment, and has nothing to do with “bat sex” being “protected by academic freedom”

    Not entirely. The complainant made it very clear that it was being shown the article on bats that made her feel she should complain about being harassed. Seeing as the article was an academic one and any academic in related fields might find it relevant to their work; it is quite serious that they might have to second-guess themselves if they wanted to draw such an article to a colleague.

    It is very much to do with academic freedom.

  72. #72 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawksIJNE8mlqNGvMY9eMFv1AE9fOxhsgz9I
    May 15, 2010

    Hank Fox:

    Hey, speaking of a totally different aspect of this story, I’m curious:

    How many people here think sexual harassment — which is rife in the animal kingdom — just may be natural behavior for human males?

    This is an aspect that is being overlooked here. In the study of the fruit bats it also makes the point that some females were forced to mate and that when females did not lick the male’s penis during mating it may be because they had been forced to mate.

    So yes, this is also ‘natural’behaviour but would this being presented as evidence to the colleague for the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour be acceptable? Didn’t Thornhill get blasted for his ‘Evolutionary History of Rape’? I actually would welcome debate on animal sexual behaviour and one thing it shows is the conflict between the sexes and the manipulation and exploitation and harm that is part and parcel of animal sex – as it is of human sexual behaviour.

    Women are not sexless and fragile beings. Observing other species reminds us of the exploitation and conflict and harm etc that is involved in sexual behaviour in other species as well as our own. Sometimes the pleasure (and we assume males always experience pleasure which they may not) is just for the male. None of it makes those behaviours OK and I suspect the ‘colleague’ was made to feel that ‘natural’ equals ‘acceptable’.

  73. #73 kilternkafuffle
    May 15, 2010

    Overturning a verdict as unjust warrants more evidence, IMHO.

    To clarify my own statement, this isn’t true in a court of law. Innocent until proven (over and over) guilty. But here the President has judgment credentials while we are onlookers. The external investigation also does – but then it’s an issue between those two parties.

    @redrabbitslife: Sounds very reasonable. But I also think that the colleague in question must not have taken the issue lightly – formally complaining to the president n’ all.

    @irenedelse: I think Hank Fox’s question is legit. I don’t think he’s trolling. Considering how “alpha males” behave with women, it’s something that respectful side-line nerds wonder :-p

  74. #74 grania.0
    May 15, 2010

    Edit to typo above, should have read:
    if they wanted to draw such an article to a colleague’s attention.

  75. #75 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    There are a lot of claims about human uniqueness in nature. Most are in the realm of cognition, language and other intellectual functions, but also about interpersonal relationships. And, related to this, in sexuality.

    I’m aware of that. But this tells me nothing about why this study was relevant to the specific debate, which is what he asserts. I guess I need something more along the lines of “My colleague was claiming X, but this study provided evidence of Y.” (Of course, he says had also shown it to “over a dozen other colleagues” that day, for some reason on which he also doesn’t elaborate.)

    Oh, and I’ve learned over the years that it’s a really bad idea to argue with people who insist that evolutionary biology has little or no bearing on our understanding of human behavior. They are just about as bad as young-earth-creationists.

    Oh, give me a break. Evo psych people make claims that go well beyond the basic “evolutionary biology has…bearing on our understanding of human behavior,” and often on the basis of extremely shoddy research and unsupported inferences.

  76. #76 johnlil#0a224
    May 15, 2010

    Wait a minute … they “don’t know why genital licking occurs.”?
    Those people need to get out of the lab once in a while.

  77. #77 Pygmy Loris
    May 15, 2010

    grania.o

    You said that Dylan Evans has the original complaint on his facebook page. SC asked you if you would post it here. Until you do so, your arguments about the colleague who filed the complaint are hearsay. Please post the complaint here so we can have an informed discussion.

  78. #78 irenedelse
    May 15, 2010

    @ kilternkafuffle:

    @irenedelse: I think Hank Fox’s question is legit. I don’t think he’s trolling. Considering how “alpha males” behave with women, it’s something that respectful side-line nerds wonder :-p

    Oh, give me a break. His question was classic inflammatory repertoire. And many “respectful side-line nerds” are just alpha males with a different strategy, exploiting a different niche. Speaking from an evolutionary perspective on male/female interaction, of course.

  79. #79 Certainty
    May 15, 2010

    I was surprised that I had to read down to comment #30 Dutchdoc to find one posted by someone who actually stopped to think rather than gut react (science anyone?) and notice that we heard only one side of the story. I am amazed that on a blog like this the ‘boyz’ do not seem capable of trying on anyone else’s shoes, size girlz, for example.

    I am not a female but I notice it is not uncommon for some boyz to get off by trying to embarrass women. Scientific conversation is not an excuse for this kind of shit.

    New here, dunno if I have a handle.

  80. #80 kilternkafuffle
    May 15, 2010

    Considering darthcynic’s inside knowledge and irenedelse’s opinion, it’s very possible that this is about a President vs. Professor conflict.

    But then would grania.o kindly repost the formal complaint or link to it? If it was indeed just the bat article that was offensive, I retract my argument, but if there was anything else inappropriate or suggestive in the professor’s behavior – it’s a different story.

  81. #81 Chris Whitman
    May 15, 2010

    It’s very telling whenever someone says, “I think we can safely assume that x person is female.” Typically it involves projecting onto that person whatever behavior the speaker believes women will take. In this case, there is the assumption that women generally lie about or exaggerate sexual harassment. Yay sexism!

    Regarding the people who “just won’t accept the relevance of evolutionary biology to humans,” it’s entirely possible that there are some people out there who behave like this (I don’t know any, but I might move in the wrong circles). However, I would point out that I have had exactly this charge leveled against me before for attacking arguments surrounding, for example, the kind of half-assed evolutionary psychology that suggest men can abdicate responsibility for actions like cheating on their partners because they have specifically evolved to be helpless to do otherwise.

    Pointing out the fact that all our behavior, including our ability to weigh other people’s feelings and make choices (and not limited solely to behavior that exonerates Chad the psych undergrad), clearly must be the product of evolution (where else would it come from?), apparently meant I was just one of those liberal feminist scum who could not accept the truths of evolutionary biology.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m always reluctant to accept any claims that someone is being dogmatic about evolutionary biology or the uniqueness of humans unless I can hear it from that person specifically, firsthand, because while I could see it being the case, it is also thrown out there as a strawman quite often to suppress attacks on spurious arguments.

  82. #82 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #48

    However, he has been very open and has posted the original official complaint & several other relevant documents in full on his Facebook page

    Well, reading all that would certainly help us to form an opinion! *going to look for it*

    As for being open: he then probably could have then done a better job on the story at that petition page!

    Where he wrote that “a colleague” complained about the article being “upsetting”.

    If “upsetting” happens to be “sexual harassment” then the sex of the colleague becomes relevant, so if he withholds that information (maybe with good intentions: wanting to be neutral, or thinking it SHOULDN’T matter, or whatever) it STILL invokes this sense of “what ELSE didn’t he tell us” when you find out later he was accused of sexual harassment and “the colleague” in question was of the opposite sex.

    He should have realized it would become known that this was an alleged case of sexual harassment against an ‘opposite sex’ co-worker, and thus he should have ADDRESSED that fact, and possibly even explain why it WASN’T sexual harassment in his view, rather than withholding all this important and relevant information.
    Doing so made the whole story vague, dodgy, and now WITH that information, slightly sneaky.

    He MAY still be ‘innocent’ .. but deserves low grades for presenting his case.

  83. #83 mumonjmk
    May 15, 2010

    Thanks PZ. I signed the petition. And I encouraged others to do the same.

  84. #84 Sven DiMilo
    May 15, 2010

    Bat sex is not protected by academic freedom

    Really? “Academic freedom”? I’m not so sure that’s what’s at issue.

    I had been engaged in an ongoing debate with the colleague in question about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour, and in particular about the dubiousness of many claims for human uniqueness. I showed it the colleague in the context of this discussion, and in the presence of a third person. I also showed the article to over a dozen other colleagues on the same day, none of whom objected.

    ‘none of whom objected’ heh heh heh
    If the guy was running up and down the hall barging into everybody’s offices brandishing the article(‘Fellatio by Fruit Bats Prolongs Copulation Time’) and gleefully announcing that she-bats give head too and then drawing some kind of putatively evolutionary conclusions about human behavior, I could see how some monitoring might have seemed like a good idea. *shrug*

  85. #85 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #81

    It’s very telling whenever someone says, “I think we can safely assume that x person is female.” Typically it involves projecting onto that person whatever behavior the speaker believes women will take

    Typically, IMHO, (especially in this case where the accused is male), it involves widely available statistics!

    In this case, there is the assumption that women generally lie about or exaggerate sexual harassment

    Where is that assumption? I must have missed it.

  86. #86 Andrew Hall
    May 15, 2010

    I just signed the petition.

    http://laughinginpurgatory.blogspot.com/

  87. #87 irenedelse
    May 15, 2010

    @ SC OM:

    I’m aware of that. But this tells me nothing about why this study was relevant to the specific debate, which is what he asserts.

    Oh, I can see several claims about human (or at least hominid) uniqueness that the article about fruit bat fellatio could be relevant to. Like, “animals don’t do foreplay”, or “oral sex is something we see only in primates”, or even “in the search for a sex partner, animal females only look for a bringer of good genetic material, they are not in it for sexual pleasure/curiosity”…

    BTW, I clicked on the link to Dylan Evans’ webpage in the comment by Knockgoats (#49).

    The guy wrote a book about the evolution of emotions and the role they play in decision-making. Like in academic debate and/or power-plays on the issue of bat sex? Talk about irony…

    Oh, and there is also a link to his FB page, for those with an account.

  88. #88 Chris Whitman
    May 15, 2010

    Also, I think perhaps the idea that women will lie about harassment at the drop of a hat is so ingrained that no one is asking exactly what sort of person she would need to be to ruin someone’s career and possibly subject them to criminal investigation just because she was losing an argument.

    We are talking about a *complete* psychopath here, right? Keep in mind that you can’t just make a harassment charge and watch the problem disappear. There will be inquiries; you will have to give testimony, possibly several times. The charge will also follow you, as the unfolding drama may affect your personal reputation. And what do you really get out of it? Revenge for a minor squabble?

    This is not something a normal, stable person would do.

    Now, I’m not saying it’s impossible that we are talking about a total nutjob here, but I think it does say something that people are more willing to believe that someone they assume is a woman is willing to put an enormous amount of time and effort to ruin someone professionally over nothing than that a man is genuinely guilty of harassment.

  89. #89 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #84

    Really? “Academic freedom”? I’m not so sure that’s what’s at issue

    You then quote from a quote in an introductory story that PZ uses in his post as an example of an alleged violation of academic freedom. And when he then ends his post with ..

    If you find the president’s actions unwarranted and ridiculous, sign the petition and write to him

    .. then I personally tend to think his post was primarily about academic freedom, and not so much about bat sex and the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour .. or whatever else, no matter how interesting.

  90. #90 frog, Inc.
    May 15, 2010

    I had a tenured professor in graduate school who made every female whom he spoke with to feel like she needed to go take a shower. Tenured professors with more seniority, graduate students, the cleaning ladies – everyone. All of these people figured that they were just being oversensitive until someone finally complained (I think after he kissed a grad student on the forehead during a discussion of an academic problem).

    We have a right to not be “creeped out”???
    Is that like the right not to be offended??

    You know, there was a time when sexual harassment was actually a serious incident — unwelcome groping, attempts to pressure someone into sex, the general “abuse of power” cases.

    But know we have an endless cavalcade of posters who are worried that he may have been “creepy”. That he may have said something “impolite”.

    Well, that’s fucking absurd. The only question is one of power — and “creepiness” is the least of power issues to be dealt with in the workplace.

    Fuck, the entire structure of graduate training at many institutions is an ongoing abuse of power, social and economic, with a massive juvenalization of employees.

    And people fucking think that saying something “creepy” is a serious issue? A serious power inequality? Really?

    This kind of shit really blinds people to REAL issues of inequality in academia. Women get tenure less not because some men are “creepy” — but because of the structure of tenure appointments, the time frames and their inherent conflict with the timespan available for women to reproduce and have a family.

    That shit matters. This shit is just a way to cover and distract from real issues — this is the workplace equivalent of “The Global War on Terror” — a massive distraction.

    And apparently a lot of people who think of themselves as thoughtful are cooperating fully with this kind of bullshit.

    Give me a fucking break. It’s god-damn hopeless when folks are this damn insipid.

  91. #91 Chris Whitman
    May 15, 2010

    #85

    i.e.,

    The fact that he words every reference to this person who complained as a “colleague,” leads me to believe the colleague is female.

    I feel for the guy, but I also think he should have been more careful.

    It’s possible that this woman is a hair-trigger professional victim, but it’s also possible that he presented the material with a bit of leering spin that really did offend her.

    I do not believe this guy was simply making a statistical inference. Why? Because he clearly states the motivation behind his conclusion.

  92. #92 Kobra
    May 15, 2010

    So I guess that the phrases “Fuck like rabbits,” “Doing it doggy style,” and “Hung like a horse” are definitely out in the academic circles?

    Wait until the furries catch wind of that. They’ll lose some of their favorite subcultural double entendres.

  93. #93 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    Oh, I can see several claims about human (or at least hominid) uniqueness that the article about fruit bat fellatio could be relevant to. Like, “animals don’t do foreplay”, or “oral sex is something we see only in primates”, or even “in the search for a sex partner, animal females only look for a bringer of good genetic material, they are not in it for sexual pleasure/curiosity”…

    I was going to say “Good examples,” but none really works here (the study doesn’t seem to be about bat foreplay or female pleasure, and the alleged debate wasn’t about primate uniqueness). Now I’d like to hear what this specific debate was about! (I’m not expecting you to tell me.:)) It would be strange for someone engaged in a running debate about issues such as you mention to be upset by being shown this article.

  94. #94 Mattir
    May 15, 2010

    @ SC

    Oh, and I’ve learned over the years that it’s a really bad idea to argue with people who insist that evolutionary biology has little or no bearing on our understanding of human behavior. They are just about as bad as young-earth-creationists.

    Oh, give me a break. Evo psych people make claims that go well beyond the basic “evolutionary biology has…bearing on our understanding of human behavior,” and often on the basis of extremely shoddy research and unsupported inferences.

    I agree, but I have also had discussions with people who thought that the mere speculation about evolutionary biology and human behavior should be off-limits, and these were professors in major American universities. Shoddy research and unsupported inferences can be addressed as such, but not with those who think that culture is all and evolutionary biology offers no insights. Hence the YEC comparison, which I admit contains no small amount of hyperbole.

  95. #95 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #91, granted, I did indeed miss that comment.

    However, all I read there is his suggestion that EITHER the woman in question is easily offended (nowhere is stated that most women are!), OR the guy presented his stuff in an inappropriate way.
    Sounds a fair, albeit trivial and obvious, suggestion: basically all it says is: “she’s been sexually harassed or she’s not”.

    I don’t see how this is a motivation for his concluding the ‘colleague’ was female though.

    If someone feels sexually harassed EITHER because that person is ‘hair-triggered’ OR in fact, IS severely sexually harassed, then it would be MY bet as well, that the victim is of the opposite sex. PURELY based on statistics!

  96. #96 Robyn
    May 15, 2010

    This man understands evolutionary psychology?

    If the colleague was female he should therefore have been more aware than most that things re. sex discussions that men experience harmlessly are often experienced very differently (threateningly) by women. That is evolutionary psychology’s own line and it is explained as a consequence of the different sex/reproductive strategies of the two sexes.
    Robert Wright wrote about it in:”THE EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY OF THE FEMALE MIND.
    Feminists, Meet Mr. Darwin”

    and so perhaps Dylan Evans is more at fault here than a non-EP person would be. In fact, being more aware of the sex differences revealed by EP he should have known better and it looks more like a deliberate attempt to harass (if the colleague is female) as he cannot plead ignorance about the potential of the subject matter to upset the colleague.

  97. #97 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    I agree, but I have also had discussions with people who thought that the mere speculation about evolutionary biology and human behavior should be off-limits, and these were professors in major American universities.

    Do you have evidence that any are involved here? Or are you just blindly going along with Evans’ insinuation? If you don’t have reason to believe that any person maintaining that position was involved in this scenario, your remark – ending with “Just don’t argue in one-on-one discussions unless you like wasting time and risking sexual harassment charges (if you’re male) or accusations of being complicit with the oppressor (if you’re female)” – seems rather irresponsible and gratuitous in this context.

  98. #98 Carlie
    May 15, 2010

    And people fucking think that saying something “creepy” is a serious issue? A serious power inequality? Really?

    This kind of shit really blinds people to REAL issues of inequality in academia.

    NO. Ignoring “this kind of shit” and letting it slide is what creates the kind of environment that indicates to jerks that it is ok to practice more blatant forms of discrimination.

    I’m not saying this case is one of those – it’s easy to see how it could have been either way, and there’s not nearly enough information to be able to tell. But don’t say that the “little stuff” should routinely be ignored, because ignoring the little stuff is what helps cause the bigger problems.

  99. #99 KingUber
    May 15, 2010

    Has an internet petition ever actually changed anything?

  100. #100 Chris Whitman
    May 15, 2010

    I’m starting an internet petition for people to take more notice of internet petitions.

    Will you sign it?

  101. #101 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    I appreciate that you only have my account of this whole sorry affair to go on, and that you can therefore only comment on that basis. I have supplied supporting evidence and documentation to the Times Higher Education Supplement and New Scientist, who will both be covering the story next week (by a nice coincidence, Thursday is “Academic Freedom Day here!). This will help reassure you that my account is fair and accurate.

    Some further details are as follows. The colleague to whom the article was shown was female. She and I have always got on well, and there had never been any hint of anything untoward before I showed her this article. On the contrary, she and her husband havd been out for dinner with me and my girlfriend on several occasions, and at one time we discussed writing a grant proposal together. We often discussed the evolutionary basis of human behavior, of which she was always skeptical, in a good natured way. We also regularly discussed claims for human exceptionalism, of which I was often skeptical.

    On 2 November 2009, I was reading the paper when walking by her office and it occurred to me that this was another refutation of human exceptionalism, so I knocked on her office door to show her the article. It did not occur to me that she might find it offensive, as it is a formal publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. My colleague welcomed me into her office as she usually did, and when I showed her the paper she showed no signs of being offended by it. On the contrary, she laughed openly and asked me to leave her a copy of said paper, which I did. All this took place while her office mate, another female, was working away at her desk. I left the office with the impression that we had had yet another of the many friendly conversations that we have had over the past year.

    The first indication I had that anything was wrong was on 9 November, when I received a letter from HR informing me that my colleague had a lodged a formal complaint of sexual harassment on the basis of this incident.

    I remain utterly astonished that simply showing someone an article about fellatio in bats could be considered sexual harassment. Indeed, it is so over the top that one has to think that either University College Cork no longer respects academic freedom, or that there is more to this story than I am aware of..

    If it is not a simple case of over-reaching academics suppressing academic freedom, then I would like to know what else is going here as much as you!

    Dylan Evans
    http://www.dylan.org.uk

  102. #102 Robyn
    May 15, 2010

    Had the previous discussions with her involved sexual behaviour?

  103. #103 broboxley OT
    May 15, 2010

    Dylan #101 thanks for explaining a little more. On the basis of what you have explained here the colleague is not an academic and should seek a position elsewhere, perhaps in teaching children instead of adults.

  104. #104 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 15, 2010

    Yes, that phrase appears in the post.
    That doesn’t mean that that’s what PZ’s post is all about. That’s not why he mentioned it.

    sigh

    And that’s not what SC was asking either. She, if I’m not mistaken, was asking about the actual article on bat sex and how that is relevant to

    an ongoing debate…about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour, and in particular about the dubiousness of many claims for human uniqueness

    ,

  105. #105 Robyn
    May 15, 2010

    I mean discussions about animal sexual behaviour?
    The ‘natural history’ of rape, for example? Would you understand her being upset in that instance – even if this really does need to be addressed.

  106. #106 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 15, 2010

    Will you sign it?

    Only if I can sign it more than once.

  107. #107 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #101. Thanks for posting this, and your presence here will certainly help us form a more balanced opinion.

    I have a question: Are sexually harassment complaints dealt with in anonymity in the UK, or at your college? I mean, have you been able to DISCUS the issue with the colleague in question? Since you are apparently on good and friendly terms, can’t the two of you talk this out (and get her to retract her formal complaint). OR .. if there IS anonymity .. are you sure the complaint couldn’t have been filed by the OTHER female present?

  108. #108 Robyn
    May 15, 2010

    Animal sexual behaviour is not generally presented as being positve for the females – there’s a lot of ‘conquering’of females including some of the fruit bat females that were forced to mate.

    Evolutionary biology is not about sex being fun but about the conflict between the sexes.
    I’m female and very much in favour of looking at animal sexual behaviour as much to understand sexual conflict, rape, the control of female sexuality etc as anything else.

    Feminist evolutionary biologists are getting a better perspective across about females but the facts still remain that for most species males compete for females and females don’t necessarily get a good deal out of it.

    Women who are not evolutionary biologists are probably quite concerned by what goes on between the sexes in other species and absoutely fear that men will use examples from nature (eg rape)to manipulate and exploit sexual relations whether re. sexual behaviour per se. or re. what women should be ‘allowed’ to do beyond sex and reproduction.

    The colleague had probably suppressed her anxieties and fears and concerns for a long time and maybe it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It may have been avoided if sufficient emphasis had been put on the point that Pinker often makes that natural does not mean good or right etc etc and I would add that ‘natural’ often is pretty nasty.

  109. #109 Legion
    May 15, 2010

    One of the questions that has come up in this discussion is, what was the manner in which Dylan presented the article to his (female) colleague? Was his manner professional or frat-house crude?

    His explanation at #101 provides a clue. There was a witness — another woman — in the office when he showed the article to the complaintant. To use sexually suggestive language or innuendo in this situation would have been reckless in the extreme. We can speculate, then, that his behavior was reasonably professional… or can we?

    What are we to make of this:

    …when I showed her the paper she showed no signs of being offended by it. On the contrary, she laughed openly and asked me to leave her a copy of said paper…

    What was said that was funny? Did Dylan make a joke about sex? Is it possible that he did, and that what he took as a harmless comment, the complaintant took as an incident of sexual harassment? Given their existing relationship, whatever happened or was said, was far outside the norm (at least as far as the woman was concerned) for their relationship.

  110. #110 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    Regarding Dutchdoc’s question: The complaint was NOT anonymous – it was signed by the complainant. I was given strict instructions by HR NOT to discuss the issue with the colleague in question or to have any more contact with her whatsoever. I thought we had been on good and friendly terms, but that ceased abruptly when the complaint was lodged.

  111. #111 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    @Legion:

    > What are we to make of this:
    > …when I showed her the paper she showed no signs > of being offended by it. On the contrary, she
    > laughed openly and asked me to leave her a copy of
    > said paper…

    > What was said that was funny? Did Dylan make a
    > joke about sex? Is it possible that he did, and
    > that what he took as a harmless comment, the
    > complaintant took as an incident of sexual
    > harassment?

    No, I certainly did not make any joke, either about sex or anything else. I simply said that citing the human practice of oral sex would be an unusual way to make an argument for human exceptionalism, but that there is now evidence to combat even that.

    Dylan Evans
    http://www.dylan.org.uk

  112. #112 Pierce R. Butler
    May 15, 2010

    It’s outrageous to think this sort of issue could still arise in the Century of the Fruitbat!

  113. #113 Robyn
    May 15, 2010

    To give another perspective, men who are well versed in the evolution of sexual behaviour can quite objectively deal with discussing behaviours such as female deceit of males over paternity but other men can heve strong emotional reactions to it, and all men probably would have strong emotional reactions if it became a personal experience.
    Cuckoldry is not normally laughed about in males.

    So, though this single incident does seem like an over reaction it could be that the history of your interactions was for her one of trying to control her emotional responses which may have been something like those a man might feel re. discussions on the naturalness of cuckoldry.

  114. #114 Kieranfoy
    May 15, 2010

    @Pierce: That was last century. I think it’s the Century of the Sturgeon or something.

  115. #115 nescientist
    May 15, 2010

    #98:

    NO. Ignoring “this kind of shit” and letting it slide is what creates the kind of environment that indicates to jerks that it is ok to practice more blatant forms of discrimination.

    That is very nearly the complete opposite of the truth. Creating the widespread perception that harmless, innocent men are at constant risk of losing their career over poorly-chosen words may be the worst thing to happen to feminism since Christianity. I hold your hypersensitivity to account for my consistent experience that if I declare myself a feminist in the company of other men I will be ridiculed for my “collusion with the enemy.”

    Patriarchy is the enemy of men and women both, but when the gradual and noble struggle against it seems to be represented by HR departments scrutinizing words, it’s easy to see why fans of Lenny Bruce might turn against feminism. I wouldn’t want to go back to the bad old days any more than Carlie, I’m sure, but even though aspects of this workplace war are absolutely good and necessary, its victories will rarely be celebrated by men, and its failures come at a heavy cost in public goodwill – particularly amongst men. I’m personally quite comfortable with the notion that men fucking deserve everything that’s coming to them and should suck it up, but you’re going to have a lot more trouble selling that to the public at large.

    Basically, the extent to which feminism can be presented as a war prosecuted by (radical, leftist, ‘feminazi’) women against men is the best weapon that the atavists and patriarchs have in their arsenal. Feeding into this is drastically more damaging to the cause of equality than letting a few cases of non-physical (but even so, genuine, and harmful) harassment slip through the cracks. It is absolutely possible to create a hostile environment by words alone, and we must be vigilant for such actionable behavior, but caution is warranted. The repercussions of our movement being cast (often unfairly) as a cabal of “thought police” are already causing more damage than blonde jokes.

  116. #116 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    May 15, 2010

    At present, we do not know why genital licking occurs, and we present four non-mutually exclusive hypotheses that may explain the function of fellatio in C. sphinx.

    God is pulling the strings.

    ————

    No academic freedom? WTF. Although, not related to bat sex, this quote seems appropiate:

    For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

  117. #117 Kieranfoy
    May 15, 2010

    Quick question. When did Pharyngulites decide that “You have no right to not be offended” ceased to apply?

    He tried to argue against a scientific proposition with something that happened to involve bat sex, and a fellow scientist tried to play the “I’m offended” card, and free-speech lovers want to tar and feather him? For god’s sake, if someone can’t handle bat head, they shouldn’t be considered adults.

    Also, Robyn, any dude who gets offended by cukold jokes needs to grow a pair.

    Remember the days when people who got offended by something neutral (or in the case funny) got laughed at?

    ’cause I’m missing them.

    Treating women like they’re made of glass and can’t be exposed to frank discussions about sex is just as sexist as acting as though they’re made of cooties and should be fetching us sammichs.

  118. #118 Carlie
    May 15, 2010

    Is there any evidence, anywhere, as to what her side of the story is? Filing a complaint of this sort is not a small thing to do. It’s involved, and it opens up the person to having an awful lot of criticism and scorn heaped upon them (as we can see gee, right here) as well as getting an employment black mark as being “difficult”. I find it hard to believe that this incident could be construed as sexual harassment, but then again I also find it hard to believe that any academic would chance their job (as few and far between as academic jobs are) on a flimsy case. I know neither of these people, so I’m just as unwilling to say that he’s entirely innocent as I am to say that she’s entirely bonkers.

  119. #119 otrame
    May 15, 2010

    This brings up a point that I find interesting. Let us suppose that Dr. Evans is recounting the story accurately. Let us further suppose that the colleague, for whatever reason, misinterpreted the act of showing her that article as hostile and sexually aggressive. I have to admit to a bias here. I think that someone getting their knickers in a twist about it in such circumstances is pretty pathologic (though it can also be down to cultural differences). But lets suppose it is a matter of honest misunderstanding. What then?

    Here is the important part to me. If Dr. Evans is honest, the woman did not say a word to him at the time or subsequently. That is where I have a problem. Because various individuals have different notions about what appropriate is and while I believe you have a right not to be subjected to behavior you find offensive (within reason–for instance a Muslim man may be offended that I wear short sleeved shirts and slacks to work), I also believe you need to TELL people that you find it offensive. And you need to do that BEFORE you start an official inquiry. The reason for that is people really can just plain misunderstand or just plain have different standards and these things can be worked out. If she had said she didn’t like him showing her the article and whatever he might have said about it and if he then never showed her similar articles again (while probably thinking she is a nutcase, admittedly) the problem would have been solved.

    There are often subtle differences in the what people from different cultures and subcultures feel is acceptable. People have a right to not have to work in situations where they are bombarded with behaviors outside of immediate working situations that they find uncomfortable, but they need to understand that what is uncomfortable for them may not be the same for everyone.

    Which is why, at my university, all the staff have to attend classes (which are repeated annually) which lay out exactly what is sexual harassment and what isn’t and exactly what to do if someone (or several ones) in your workplace behave in a way that creates a hostile work environment for you. The rules are simple and straightforward and they involve letting people know you don’t like it first and THEN if the behavior continues, reporting to a supervisor, or if that isn’t feasible, to the appropriate person in the campus administration.

  120. #120 nastasie
    May 15, 2010

    Here’s a thought: the problem between Dylan Evans and his colleague may have arisen gradually if their discussions of the evolutionary origins of human behaviour involved sexual behaviour (which they usually do). She may have inferred that he was being suggestive about the current rules of interaction between the sexes not being set in stone or something to that effect. In that case, she could have grown increasingly uncomfortable regarding this discussion, but never mentioned it.

    So that would be a case of misunderstanding on her part, one which she could have dealt with in a better way, e.g. by expressing her doubts over his intended meaning and directly questioning him.

    Of course I’m just speculating, and I’m not saying “oh, come on, why didn’t she just confront him?”. She could have been questioning her own assumptions or she could have had any one of a series of other doubts about bringing it up until the interaction in question drove the point home from her perspective.

    What I do find strange is what someone mentioned above: the accuser in a case of sexual harassment also risks having his/her reputation damaged, so I have to wonder if she acted on impulse or failed to consider this aspect.

    Of course, this is all assuming Evans’ account is accurate. And I do think that a professor in her position would be aware of the seriousness of the situation and the repercussions for her own reputation.

    In sum, I’m trying to imagine how the scenario would have evolved without knowing her side of the story.

  121. #121 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    someone thinks it is hard to believe that a university president would, despite the conclusion of a formal investigation, impose sanctions on a faculty member if the faculty member had not really done anything wrong.

    i find it even harder to believe that Dylan Evans, someone who seemed to have a good career going on over there, would want to open himself to this kind of scrutiny if he indeed has something to hide.

    heck, if he’s lucky enough to escape punishment from the formal investigation, instead of counting his blessings, he literally invited global attention and scrutiny to even the most minor details of his behaviors, histories, and background. that is truly incredible.

    as someone who work in academia his whole professional career, i would speculate that this is a case of political correctness running haywire on the part of the president. i guess he wants to prevent what happened to Lawrence Summers from happening to him.

  122. #122 Epictetus
    May 15, 2010

    It just confirms for me that one can be all-too-easily censored and/or punished for speaking about the ?delicate? subject of sex. People are *way* too uptight about this subject. The world is full of prudes who view the act of sex with alarm. Never mind that it happens to be the precondition of our existence. Here, I think, religion has done considerable harm by making the act of sex appear dirty, shameful, sinful, and very displeasing to our Heavenly Father (although, at least according to one religious tradition, the Good Lord impregnated a virgin who was already betrothed to another man; but that?s another matter). At any rate, the Puritan ethic, I?m afraid, which views every form of pleasure with suspicion and disapproval, is alive and well.

  123. #123 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 15, 2010

    I still don’t know enough about this incident to form an opinion about who’s right and who’s wrong. I won’t be signing the petition until I have a better understanding of what happened.

  124. #124 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    I have made numerous comments here, all pointing out that we (or at least -I-) didn’t have enough information to make an informed decision about signing Dr. Evans’s petition. I was especially interested in a story by the “other side”, like, for instance, the actual formal complaint.

    After some poking around I can now make that information available (thanks: ).

    You can find it here: link

    May this help us all to come to a more informed conclusion.

    Now that I have received (WAY) more information, I think I have a good case for signing that petition.

  125. #125 Mattir
    May 15, 2010

    @ SC & froginc

    My comment about the hostility to discussion of evolutionary biology and human behavior had nothing to do with this particular case – I have no idea whether Evans’ colleague was one of those who was totally close-minded about the possibility. I have, in graduate-level courses, been accused of condoning rape (and I’m a female) because I have suggested that rape might be a reproductive strategy that worked in the environment of evolutionary adaptedness. Last I checked, we don’t actually live in the Lower Paleolithic, so whether rape should be tolerated now is a totally separate point. I should have indicated that I was broadening the discussion beyond the particular case under discussion.

    Second, no one, male or female, has a total right not be creeped out or offended. However, if you are someone who manages to creep out every single person of the opposite sex that you come into contact with, perhaps your behavior deserves some careful attention from colleagues and administrators. I have no idea whether Evans was someone whose behavior creeped out more than this one person, which is why I will defer to those with personal knowledge of the situation.

  126. #126 Carlie
    May 15, 2010

    Thanks for posting those, dutchdoc. It looks just from those papers that he’s something of a boorish lout, whether intentional or not, has been creeping her out for a long time, and she finally got sick enough of it to complain. Still could have gone through different channels than direct filing, but again I don’t know anything about these people or the situation other than what’s been stated. Also, as has been said already, a lot depends on her own cultural background and personal inclinations – a lot of people would just say “back off” and be done with it, others wouldn’t even mind the behavior in the first place, and some would be immensely uncomfortable but not be able to say so.

  127. #127 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 15, 2010

    Thank you, dutchdoc, for providing the information in post 124. I agree with President Murphy that Dr. Evans sexually harassed his colleague and also that training and counseling are appropriate for the offense.

    I will not be signing the petition.

  128. #128 Epictetus
    May 15, 2010

    “I have, in graduate-level courses, been accused of condoning rape (and I’m a female) because I have suggested that rape might be a reproductive strategy that worked in the environment of evolutionary adaptedness. Last I checked, we don’t actually live in the Lower Paleolithic, so whether rape should be tolerated now is a totally separate point.”

    Looks like those who are offended by your suggestion are incapable of separating “is” from “ought”, a well-known logical fallacy.

  129. #129 Robyn
    May 15, 2010

    Thankyou dutchdoc.

    I too will not be signing the petition.

  130. #130 Crudely Wrott
    May 15, 2010

    “Bat sex is not protected by academic freedom.”

    Has anyone determined the degree to which the bats in question give a plugged nickel for academic freedom? Hah! I thought not.

    “A positive relationship exists between the length of time that the female licked the male’s penis during copulation and the duration of copulation.”

    That’s understandable.

    [unembarrassed grin]

  131. #131 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 15, 2010

    I will not be signing the petition.

    Yep after reading the complaint and the subsequent reactions to it I see no reason to sign it either.

  132. #132 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    Oops?

    I now have a question for Dylan Evans:

    Under what context can ?the action was a joke with sexual innuendo and it was reasonable for [her] to be offended by being presented with it in her office alone. We therefore find that the complaint on this action is upheld? be interpreted as ?the investigators have not upheld the complaint of sexual harassment??

  133. #133 Robyn
    May 15, 2010

    Does human fellatio increase the duration of copulation????
    Actually, in humans fellatio and copulation cannot occur at the same time.
    Even in the bats it is merely brief licking of the base of the penis.

    Pity Evans did not discuss the biology and how probably the females, far out-numbering the males, may be at risk of insufficient sperm for fertilization. If we are going to discuss animal sexual behaviour then discuss animal sexual behaviour. Pretending that this bat behaviour tells us anything about humans is false representation. So many seem to now think that these bats actually perform human-type fellatio which is simply not true. No doubt this false belief about bats will spread like the false belief in totally anything goes bonobo sex has spread.

    In no species as far as I know (and I know far more than most about animal sexual behaviour) does oral stimulation lead to ejaculation in the way it does in humans. Perhaps that should be the point for debate?

  134. #134 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    By the way, does PZ have any addendum to this post in light of the documents linked in post 124?

  135. #135 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    SUPERHEADCAT:

    The report makes only one reference to sexual Harassment, and it states clearly that this charge
    was not upheld. The second complaint, which was upheld, is not categorised by the investigators as one involving sexual harassment, nor could it be.

    The event to which it refers does not fall within the definition of sexual harassment, since it is a single event and not a pattern of behaviour, and clearly was not sufficiently serious to constitute harassment in and of itself.

    The report states that the complainant was alone in her office when I showed her the scientific paper in question. This factual issue is of some importance given that the investigators found that it ?was reasonable for the complainant to be offended by being presented with it in her office alone.? Yet it is not true that the complainant was alone at the time. When I met the investigators I told them very clearly that the complainant was in her office with Dr XXXX. Yet the investigators have not mentioned this in their report, and did not seek to confirm this by interviewing Dr XXXX. This is unacceptable given
    the conclusion reached.

    The report also states that the act of showing the scientific paper to the complainant was a joke. It was not. On the contrary, such was part of an ongoing intellectual debate between the complainant and myself about the evolutionary origins of human behaviour, and the similarities between humans and other animals. I made this very clear to the examiners, yet they have failed to mention it in their report and categorise the episode as a joke.

    One of the investigators stated during our meeting that he found the scientific paper to be ?smutty? (his exact word). This suggests that the investigator has no acquaintance with the scientific literature in this area.
    There are broader issues of academic freedom at stake here. If we cannot discuss scientific articles about topics directly related to our own research, published in leading peer-reviewed international journals, with colleagues in the same department, this bodes very ill for informed enquiry and debate.

    In the School of Medicine we often have to address topics that might seem offensive to others, from
    sexually-transmitted infections to anal fistulas. If certain individual members of staff with unusually sensitive dispositions are allowed to block debate on any topic which they may happen to find mildly upsetting, then academic freedom is severely curtailed.

    Dylan Evans
    http://www.dylan.org.uk

  136. #136 MS
    May 15, 2010

    We don’t know all the facts yet, but it’s really not that hard to see how a woman MIGHT, in some circumstances, think being sent this article constituted harassment. Much would depend on prior interaction(s) with the male professor, what, if anything, he wrote to accompany it, if the male had a history of inappropriate behavior towards female colleagues, etc.

    As others have pointed out, making a formal harassment charge is not something to be taken lightly and can have lasting and damaging effects on one’s own career, so I’m not inclined to automatically dismiss it as frivolous, even if ultimately I might not agree with her assessment or think there were better ways to handle it.

  137. #137 AJ Milne OM
    May 15, 2010

    Mostly unrelated, I originally misread this title as ‘Bad sex is not protected by academic freedom…’

    … my first reaction was: ‘mkay… so how did this come up, exactly? Was someone assuming maybe tenure meant it was totally cool for them to just lie there from now on?

    (/And my next thought, in light of this, was that it probably shouldn’t be so protected, anyway…)

  138. #138 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    @CARLIE – POST #126

    I beg you to reconsider your assumption that I am “something of a boorish lout” who “has been creeping her out for a long time” in the light of the following:

    In her original complaint, the complainant stated that, following the my housewarming party, she and her husband “declined all further invitations from me”. She neglected to mention the fact that, AFTER my housewarming party – and long after the dinner at the restaurant on 22 November 2008, where I allegedly “hugged her strongly”, she herself sent me the following email:

    From: XXXXXX
    Sent: Thu 1/8/2009 8:26 PM
    To: Evans, Dylan
    Subject: RE: research

    Dear Dylan,

    No problem. I am not around tomorrow afternoon.
    I just wanted to let you know that on Saturday 7th of February there is the Surgeon Noonan Ball which is an important event for the School (students and staff). Generally ZZZZZ takes a table for all of us. It would be great if you and your girlfriend could join us, it’s a nice evening but I was also thinking of you party??

    For more information about the Ball you can ask ZZZZZ and then let me know…

    Concerning the project we can talk next week.

    Have a nice week end!

    XXXXXX

    IT WAS IN VIEW OF THIS EMAIL, AND SEVERAL OTHERS LIKE IT, THAT THE INVESTIGATORS STATED IN THEIR REPORT THAT:

    “Dr Evans has produced email evidence that casts serious doubts on some of the evidence of Dr XXXX”

    Yet the President makes no reference to this in his letters to me.

    Best wishes,

    Dylan Evans
    http://www.dylan.org.uk

  139. #139 phoenixwoman
    May 15, 2010

    To all those who are attacking the professor over this:

    One of his colleagues, Grania O., has posted a comment at #48 in this thread. You might want to read it. And then apologize.

    In other news — Guess what? Saving a woman’s life via therapeutic abortion still gets you fired and excommunicated at Catholic hospitals. Yes, even in the United States. Because of course a woman’s value is only as a womb with legs:

    A Catholic nun and longtime administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix was reassigned in the wake of a decision to allow a pregnancy to be ended in order to save the life of a critically ill patient.

    The decision also drew a sharp rebuke from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Phoenix Diocese, who indicated the woman was “automatically excommunicated” because of the action.

  140. #140 jemand
    May 15, 2010

    from http://felidware.com/DylanEvans/,

    The report states,

    “We therefore find that the complaint on this action is upheld though it was not Dr Evan’s intention to cause offense.”

    I do not see how this can be construed as saying they absolved Dr. Evan’s of any wrongdoing. Dr. Evan’s subsequent reply completely ignoring the second, upheld complaint seems a rather disingenuous attempt to whitewash, and indicative of an individual who probably does need some guidance in reasonable and respectful office conduct.

    Note that the sexual harassment charge itself was dismissed because the complainant had not been clear enough in communicating with Dr. Evans, and hadn’t *intended* to be offensive. However, he was inadvertently offensive, and again, external aid in behavioral modification seems justifiable. The president’s ruling seems reasonable to me.

  141. #141 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    Hi! Dylan,

    Thanks for the information. It really helps

    I noticed the discrepancy between your account of the events and the investigation report is so significant that there must be more of it than we have seen so far.

    Suppose your account is accurate, shouldn?t you be appealing the investigation?s conclusion, instead of petitioning against the President?s decision? What did I miss?

    It seems to me that strictly based on the investigation?s conclusion, the President?s decision is quite reasonable. Is that right?

  142. #142 phoenixwoman
    May 15, 2010

    Jemand: See comment #138.

  143. #143 irenedelse
    May 15, 2010

    @ dutchdoc #124: Thanks for the digging and posting! After reading, I too feel I can confidently sign the petition. No, this doesn’t seem a case of sexual harassment, but of different sensitivities regarding what is and is not acceptable academic discussions between colleagues of different sexes. For instance, the complainant had opportunities to tell Evans that she didn’t want to go on with the discussion (once in front of a female colleague, another in front of her husband…) yet she didn’t, but lodged a complaint.

    But then, reading the different versions, and reading between the lines, I find interesting that a missing piece came to light in that investigation: the complainant’s husband. He was present at one of the instances of alleged sexual harassment, and appeared very unhappy/upset, too. Because of knowing that one of his wife’s male colleagues discussed human sexuality with her, even if in the context of evolutionary biology? Who knows what goes into the heads of would-be alpha males…

  144. #144 MAJeff, OM
    May 15, 2010

    I’m going to derail and stay on the topic of sexual harassment issues simultaneously.

    I won’t allow undergraduate students in my home, nor will I go out to dinner with them unless I am in a large group with other faculty present. This has nothing to do with a fear that I myself will act inappropriately, but is purely because I’m a gay man. I realized that I am vulnerable to certain claims simply because I’m gay, so I keep myself out of situations in which such claims might be made. Some of my colleagues react to me like I’m insane when I do this, but I’ve made a choice to minimize or eliminated the potential for anyone even making a claim.

  145. #145 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    Hi Superheadcat,

    When you say “there must be more of it than we have seen so far”, what do you mean by “it”? Are you referring to the report? If so, I can assure you that the two-page report is all there was. I am still at a complete loss to understand why the report stated that the complainant was alone in her office when I showed her the scientific paper in question, since I clearly told the investigators that she was not alone. I also fail to understand why the report asserts that showing her the article was “a joke”, when I was absolutely ADAMANT that it was not a joke.

    As for your question, I’m afraid there is no provision for appealing the investigation?s conclusion under the relevant policy. And I’m afraid I disagree that, based on the investigation?s conclusion, the President?s decision is quite reasonable. The Investigators were explicit and unambiguous in their findings that none of my actions prior to 2 November 2009 constituted sexual harassment. Therefore insofar as there is any upheld complaint, it is in respect of one single incident which occurred on that date. Yet, the sanction which the President proposes against me (training and counselling and monitoring over a two-year period with six monthly reports to be submitted to you) surely would suggest a deep-seated, longstanding pattern of behaviour and/or attitude in need of serious correction. As such, his position could hardly be any more inappropriate and unjustified.

    Best wishes,

    Dylan Evans
    http://www.dylan.org.uk

  146. #146 Pacal
    May 15, 2010

    If no one has said it.

    “And then the oral sex!”

  147. #147 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    @CARLIE – POST #126

    Also consider the marked inconsistency in the complainant?s complaint.

    On the one hand she seems to be complaining that I was ?manipulating? her to establish himself in a good light with her husband. Yet on the other hand she accuses Dr Evans of sexual harassment. Such a combination is surely unlikely to say the least.
    The complainant?s repeated references to her husband?s position among the senior management of the University is discomforting. It suggests that she may feel that such reminders might get her a more favourable outcome than might otherwise be the case. All the more reason for the President’s response to be absolutely proportionate and responsive to the facts of the case, and be seen to be so.

    Best wishes,

    Dylan Evans
    http://www.dylan.org.uk

  148. #148 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    I simply said that citing the human practice of oral sex would be an unusual way to make an argument for human exceptionalism, but that there is now evidence to combat even that.

    Would be? So she hadn’t made that argument? Had she made an argument that is related to it (i.e., specifically about the uniqueness of human sexual practices)? (Leaving aside that humans don’t generally perform fellatio during intercourse, and that such evidence already existed from bonobos anyway, as the article states.)

    It did not occur to me that she might find it offensive, as it is a formal publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

    Really? You can’t think of any contexts in which presenting colleagues with certain peer-reviewed articles might be seen as offensive and inappropriate?

    There are broader issues of academic freedom at stake here. If we cannot discuss scientific articles about topics directly related to our own research,

    Was this bat study directly related to her research or any specific argument she had made?

  149. #149 PZ Myers
    May 15, 2010

    That’s not just a gay thing, MAJeff. I won’t meet privately with students either — I always keep my office door wide open, and when I’m working with students in the lab, I find excuses to move out and let them work on their own if it turns into a one-on-one event. I just can’t afford the risk.

    I was also subject to accusations of harassment, once upon a time. A female student came into my lab when I was alone, unhappy about an exam grade, and openly threatened me — by going public with a story about a completely nonexistent sexual encounter right there.

    Zoom, I was right out the door at that instant; asked a female grad student in the lab next door to sit with the student for a bit, and went straight to the chair of the department to explain the situation. I had to work fast, because I knew that if it turned into a he-said-she-said story, it wouldn’t matter that she was lying, it could get dragged out into an investigation that would easily destroy my career, no matter that I was innocent.

    I was in a total panic, knowing full well how damaging that kind of accusation can be. Fortunately, I’d done the right thing by blowing it all wide open at the first hint of a threat, and getting witnesses on the spot.

  150. #150 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    Hi! Dylan,

    ?it? refers to the details of the incident. The descriptions in the report surely seem incomplete as you suggested.

    Let me make sure I get it right: your school?s policy dictates that one is not required to solve issues in informal forms and can directly file an official complaint to HR. And the conclusion made by the HR investigation team is final and un-appealable.

    Wow. That seems like a screwed-up infrastructure to me.

    Am I correct in concluding that whatever results of your petition, your official record for the rest of your life will show that there is an incident of inappropriate conduct on your part?

  151. #151 Carlie
    May 15, 2010

    Dr. Evans – I meant that you were coming off to her as a boorish lout, not necessarily that you come off that way to anyone else. From the way she worded her complaint, it seems clear that her interpretation was something like that. I also know how damaging sexual harassment cases can be to innocent parties; I am very close to two people who were wrongly accused of bad activity, and it badly affected them both personally and professionally. So I don’t automatically take the side of the person who files a suit, because I know that false cases can be brought up. I just don’t see how this is an academic freedom case, and I couldn’t possibly make any kind of determination as to what kind of “vibes” were being given off or received as to not just this incident, but the entire relationship.

  152. #152 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    @TIS’HIMSELF – POST #128

    On what grounds do you think that I sexually harassed my colleague? Do you think that showing an academic article to a colleague with whom one has always had a good working relationship, in the context of an ongoing academic debate, in the presence of a third party, with no intention to cause offence whatsoever, when that colleague does not indicate any offense at the time, but asks for a copy of the article, is – in and of itself – sufficient to count as sexual harassment?

    On what grounds do you think that training and counseling are appropriate for such innocent behaviour?

    Best wishes,

    Dylan Evans
    http://www.dylan.org.uk

  153. #153 broboxley OT
    May 15, 2010

    After reading the complaint and the conclusions a course in office behavioral patterns may well be in order. Hugging kissing a colleague? Looking for trouble whether intended or not. What I laugh at seriously unnerves others so a good work environment is where all are as respectful and professional as possible. Save everything else for the net or at home.

    Yes I know, that is a lot of PC but a lot more productivity is accomplished when everyone gets that in their heads.

  154. #154 Ken
    May 15, 2010

    The crux of the complaint as supported by the external report is that Dr. XXXXX had a right to be “offended” by being shown the academic article.

    If any of you think she has the right to be offended by an academic article then you are a hypocrite if you EVER say that a creationist has no right to be offended by pro-evolution academic articles. If she can successfully complain that her work environment was hostile because she was offended by an article, then a creationist has the right to successfully complain about being shown pro-evolution articles.

    NO ONE has a right to not be offended if you want to live in a society with free speech. And, if it’s even possible, even less than no one has such a right in the scientific community if you ever want anyone to trust you when you talk about openness of discussion and debate.

    Should anyone have to think about showing a colleague an article on evolution in case that colleague might find it offensive? Should you be punished if they do find it offensive?

    If you think that the offense felt by a god fearing creationist, who has been raised in their religion all their lives is any less than the offense felt by a woman over being shown an academic article on bat fellatio, they you underestimate the offense that creationists feel.

    No one has the right to not be offended.

    No one.

  155. #155 Jarred C.
    May 15, 2010

    Well put, Ken.

  156. #156 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    @BROBOXLEY – POST #153

    Sure, a course in office behavioral patterns would be in order IF I HAD HUGGED AND KISSED HER IN THE OFFICE. But the alleged hugging and kissing (actually, a simple kiss on the cheek, which people of her nationality always do to say goodby) took place outside work, in the restaurant where she, her husband, and I had just had dinner. I was saying goodbye to her, and gave her a peck on the cheek IN FRONT OF HER HUSBAND. The following day, he sent me an email saying how much he had enjoyed the evening. Do you think he would have sent that email if there had been anything weird about my behaviour the previous evening?

    Best wishes,

    Dylan Evans
    http://www.dylan.org.uk

  157. #157 Walton
    May 15, 2010

    dutchdoc @#124:

    This is ludicrous. I’ve just read through all the material in your link.

    Even if the complainant’s account is entirely truthful, it’s still impossible to conclude that Dr Evans is guilty of any kind of deliberate wrongdoing. The external investigators, having cleared him of sexual harassment, also expressly acknowledged that “it was not Dr Evans’ intention to cause offence”. It does not appear that she gave him any clear indication at all that she was offended by his behaviour.

    I’m well aware that, as we still live in a sexist society where men and women have very different experiences of the workplace, she as a woman may have experienced his behaviour as much more threatening or creepy than it was intended to be. So I’m not suggesting in any way that she was being “over-sensitive”; I, as a man and therefore a beneficiary of male privilege, and as someone who doesn’t know the people in question, am definitely not in a position to make that kind of judgment about someone else’s experiences.

    But if she was feeling threatened or creeped out, she could have either asked him to stop or, if she didn’t feel comfortable doing that, asked someone else to speak to him on her behalf. It was manifestly unfair to make a complaint, without having made any other attempt to resolve the situation, when he had absolutely no idea he was doing anything wrong.

    Everyone has the right to be innocent until proven guilty. This is a fundamental principle of justice. If A accuses B of wrongdoing, it is for A to provide the evidence that B committed the alleged wrong, not for B to prove his innocence. In this case, Dr Evans’s reputation has been dragged through the mud publicly for what seems to me to be a wholly unfair reason. I will certainly be signing the petition.

  158. #158 broboxley OT
    May 15, 2010

    @Ken #154 No one has the right to not be offended

    This isnt at a pub its at work, the place where they pay you to show up. If one of my workers is running around laughing at creationists and putting stuff in their cube knowing that it will offend them I am going to be offended and fire their ass.

    Work is not private life. Offend all you want but you are being paid to do a job not annoy your fellow workers

    Now in all of this Dr. Evans seems to not realized he has seriously pissed this colleague off. He still doesnt understand why and I dont either. So looking back at a hug, kiss etc someone got pissed maybe the husband who knows. Being a little more attuned to ones environment may help. His classes will help him with that considering what he is a Doctor of you would think some of that should have rubbed off. Not knocking the Doc, but he should have been more aware at work.

  159. #159 Jarred C.
    May 15, 2010

    I remember when I was about 18 or so, and totally insecure, I was approached by my manager about a sexual harassment claim. A female coworker had complained that every time she talked to me, I would do nothing but stare at her chest. The reality was that I was insecure (and she was hot), and couldn’t look her in the eyes, so I always averted my gaze to the floor, or counter-top, or something that was not her. The manager realized that it was a simple misunderstanding, but still told me to be aware of what others might think. From then on, I made sure to look her in the eyes when we talked, and the girl and I ended up becoming friends. That was also the starting point of me becoming more secure in myself.

    Sometimes misunderstandings do happen, and it seems to me that Dylon’s case is such a case. In those events, there should never be a formal punishment.

  160. #160 Rob
    May 15, 2010

    After reading the documents, I’m DEFINITELY signing the petition (though I seriously doubt online petitions are at all effective). Good luck Dr. Evans.

  161. #161 Bride of Shrek OM
    May 15, 2010

    Ken

    If you think that the offense felt by a god fearing creationist, who has been raised in their religion all their lives is any less than the offense felt by a woman over being shown an academic article on bat fellatio, they you underestimate the offense that creationists feel.

    Analogy fail. Being a “god fearing creationist” is a dumb arsed choice, being a woman is not. As such I couldn’t give a flying fuck if “god fearing creationists” get offended.

  162. #162 Ken
    May 15, 2010

    @broboxley OT #158

    So, putting peer reviewed academic articles in someone’s “cube” (or office) is not allowed since they might be offended by it.

    OK, now I know where you stand on academic censorship. Again, be sure you never put a peer reviewed article on evolution in the office of a Christian. As I said, they might be offended.

    You think they have that right. I don’t.

  163. #163 Rob
    May 15, 2010

    @Walton #157

    Very well put. I couldn’t agree more.

  164. #164 jemand
    May 15, 2010

    “which people of her nationality always do to say goodby”

    wait… have you seen HER engage in this in the country you are in? Or are you blatantly stereotyping her? And treating her differently than all your other colleges based on how you think persons of her ethnic heritage should be treated?

    See… I think this gets to the crux of the issue. The charge was dismissed *because* she hadn’t said anything. It did not say that your behavior was not objectionable, or that if targeted at another person, that they would likely not have objected. Your comment here indicates she comes from a different background, one in which maybe she felt less able to confront you than otherwise. The president may have taken this into account in sentencing you to behavior modification classes and such.

  165. #165 Azkyroth
    May 15, 2010

    but it’s also possible that he presented the material with a bit of leering spin that really did offend her.

    However inoffensive we all think this scientific study is, I can imagine women being offended if the thing was shoved in their faces as an unwanted advance.

    Is there anything about the facts of the case as presented that suggests this?

  166. #166 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    Ken at 154,
    According to the report, the act of ?showing the academic article? in this particular case is interpreted as ?a joke with sexual innuendo?. If the link is valid, I see no problem with the report?s conclusion.
    Unfortunately, in light of Dr. Evan?s vehement denial of such a link, I have not seen any evidence that establishes this link, and most incredibly, according to Dr. Evans, there is no way to appeal such a conclusion by the report.

  167. #167 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    So far I’ve limited myself to recounting the facts as I see them. I haven’t indulged in any speculation. But privately I have of course speculated about what was really behind all this. I’m going to risk sharing this with you, but please remember that this is JUST SPECULATION – I have NO hard evidence to support what I’m going to say:

    I don’t think that the complainant was NOT offended by the article when I showed it to her. I can’t be sure, of course, but either she really WASN’T offended, or she did a damned good job of ACTING not offended! I’m usually pretty good at reading people’s emotions, and I don’t think I would easily confuse outright disgust with an expression of interest.

    I think she asked for a copy of the article of out genuine curiosity. I think she took it home and showed it to her husband. And I think he jumped to the wrong conclusion.

    A month before this incident, the husband had been sent a sexy text message by accident – by his secretary! She meant to send it to her boyfriend but sent it to her boss by mistake. When the text arrived on his phone, his wife (the complainant) was there, and she hit the roof. She accused the husband of having an affair with the secretary (in front of witnesses) and demanded that the husband sack the secretary. He did. The secretary is now suing the university for wrongful dismissal.

    I think the husband saw the bat paper as the perfect excuse to turn the tables on her. He could now accuse HER of flirting, and demand some extreme action on her part as proof that she wasn’t.

    When I knocked on her door on the morning of 9 November, and found her there with her husband, who looked shocked to see me, I think they were writing the complaint together. That’s the date it was filed, after all.

    Now, most of this is, as I say, speculation. Make of it what you will.

    Dylan Evans
    http://www.dylan.org.uk

  168. #168 Ken
    May 15, 2010

    Bride of Shrek OM

    Being offended was a choice as well. A choice of how she decided to interpret the situation. Filing the complaint was another choice.

    Unless, of course, you think that all women are shrinking violets that need to be protected from things like peer reviewed academic articles that a mere woman can’t handle simply because she is a woman, and that, being a mere women, she has no choice but to file a complaint.

    I don’t believe that, but you have a right to that opinion.

  169. #169 jemand
    May 15, 2010

    wait, you have NO hard evidence, or no hard evidence of a link? If you have hard evidence of such a firing and a suit… than that’s hard evidence.

    I’d be inclined to agree with your reading of the situation.

    If however, there is no hard evidence of a suit… then I’d be inclined to think you’re a conspiracy theorist.

  170. #170 Jessie
    May 15, 2010

    I have signed the petition. There were better ways to have dealt with this than a mark on an academic’s record.

    Good luck Dylan.

  171. #171 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 15, 2010

    Ken #154

    NO ONE has a right to not be offended if you want to live in a society with free speech.

    In that case we should throw away all sexual harassment laws and regulations, the concept of provoking words and gestures, and even slander and libel. What is libel but someone being offended by the words of another?

    Society has decided that free speech* is not the right to say anything you damn well please. Certain speech is offensive and offended people can complain or take other appropriate action.

    The woman in this particular instance was offended by being shown an article on bat fellatio. She felt the person showing her the article was sexually harassing her. The University President agreed and took appropriate action.

    *What’s usually meant by the “right to free speech” is that governments cannot regulate speech, particularly political speech. You can denounce the President, Prime Minister, Congress, Parliament, Dáil, etc. without the government prosecuting you.

  172. #172 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    @JEMAND – POST #164

    “which people of her nationality always do to say goodby”

    wait… have you seen HER engage in this in the country you are in? Or are you blatantly stereotyping her? And treating her differently than all your other colleges based on how you think persons of her ethnic heritage should be treated?

    YES I HAVE SEEN HER ENGAGE IN THIS BEHAVIOUR IN THIS COUNTRY. INDEED, SHE STATED EXPLICITLY TO ME, ON AT LEAST THREE SEPARATE OCCASIONS, THAT SHE FOUND MY COMPANY PLEASANT BECAUSE I WAS SO MUCH MORE “LATIN” THAN THE USUAL IRISH PERSON. I AM ENGLISH, BUT I LIVED IN LATIN AMERICA FOR THREE YEARS, SO MAYBE SHE WAS REFERRING TO THAT. THE POINT IS, SHE COMMENTED ON THIS FEATURE OF MY PERSONALITY IN FAVOURABLE TERMS SEVERAL TIMES..

    I AM NOT “BLATANTLY STEREOTYPING HER”

    Dylan Evans
    http://www.dylan.org.uk

  173. #173 broboxley OT
    May 15, 2010

    Dr Evans #156 I stand corrected on the hug and kiss part, the complaint alluded to more. Its very clear you had no idea about her true feelings toward you when you showed her that article as she immediately used that as ammo to hit you with.

  174. #174 Azkyroth
    May 15, 2010

    And can anyone maybe provide an explanation of how this article is pertinent to an “ongoing debate…about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour, and in particular about the dubiousness of many claims for human uniqueness”? I’ve been trying to come up with something, but I’m drawing a blank. I guess I’d need to know more about the specific debate. What did he see as its relevance?

    The notions that animals don’t engage in sex for pleasure, and/or in sexual activities that are orthogonal to reproduction, is widespread. Someone may well have fallen back on “well, humans are the only animals that, um….um…that have oral sex!” in trying to support their argument that humans are unique. The article refutes that.

  175. #175 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    Even if the complainant’s account is entirely truthful, it’s still impossible to conclude that Dr Evans is guilty of any kind of deliberate wrongdoing. The external investigators, having cleared him of sexual harassment, also expressly acknowledged that “it was not Dr Evans’ intention to cause offence”. It does not appear that she gave him any clear indication at all that she was offended by his behaviour.

    This last is irrelevant. The issue of intent is important here. I’m fairly convinced that it wasn’t his intent to harass anyone or to do anything inappropriate. I think he’s fairly clueless about boundaries and what the problem is with this conduct, as evidenced by some of his statements here. If so, counseling and monitoring may be appropriate.

    The complainant?s repeated references to her husband?s position among the senior management of the University is discomforting.

    I find the references to gambling more odd, actually. This I thought was in the context of describing you perhaps as something of a climber (which if true would be irrelevant) but more importantly as overly familiar – presuming a closer relationship than that which existed. This relates to her suggestion that you don’t have a good sense of boundaries. But you may be right.

    ***

    I do think this could and maybe should have been worked out individually or within your department or School or whatever. But there does seem to be something you’re fundamentally not getting.

  176. #176 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    @JEMAND – POST #169

    > wait, you have NO hard evidence, or no hard
    > evidence of a link? If you have hard evidence of
    > such a firing and a suit… than that’s hard
    > evidence.

    Sorry for the ambiguity. What I meant is that I have no hard evidence of a link between these things. I do have hard evidence that the husband fired the secretary and that she is now claiming wrongful dismissal.

    Dylan Evans
    http://www.dylan.org.uk

  177. #177 Azkyroth
    May 15, 2010

    Since we don’t have that much data, it’s as likely a scenario as the one hypothesized by Hank Fox and dutchdoc.

    As far as I can tell it’s being advanced as an axiom, not a hypothesis, but I’m only as far down as your comment…

  178. #178 broboxley OT
    May 15, 2010

    @ken 162 are you being paid to put scientific reviews in other peoples cubes? If not the problem is being created by you so keep your outside work interests out of other peoples cubes.

  179. #179 Ken
    May 15, 2010

    superheadcat at 166:

    Again, I switch it to a pro-evolution article shown to a creationist. If it was interpreted by the creationist as a joke with religious overtones, then they need to be given the same freedoms to be free from such offense.

    You can’t cry foul just because you agree with the offense. Either people have the right to be offended by words (and the right to stop others from giving such offense), or they don’t have the right to be offended by words.

    In this case it’s in an academic setting, and the words we are talking about are in a peer reviewed academic article.

    Can anyone here honestly say that, under any circumstances, we should start censoring who we can show peer reviewed articles to without fear of punishment?

    Free speech, even in, perhaps especially in, academia comes with the cost of some people being offended in different circumstances. It’s the price we pay to keep the speech free. It doesn’t mean that I think Dr. XXXXX wasn’t offended, but it does mean I think that she should be limited in what she can do about that offense. Especially in an academic environment.

    It’s a pity that some people have to pay for such freedoms, but I see no way around it unless everyone were to let me decide what should be censored and what shouldn’t.

    You can trust me…. ;-)

  180. #180 jemand
    May 15, 2010

    Evans, you can stop yelling at me. Your original comment did NOT in fact, have the additional information about this *particular* woman, but only a blurb about some nebulous construct of those “other” people.

    Without the additional information that you actually had observed HER behavior, phrasing the comment in such a way was odd and left yourself open to misinterpretation.

  181. #181 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    @SC OM – POST #175

    The references to gambling concern my current research into “risk intelligence”, in the course of which I have been conducting interviews with expert gamblers.

    See http://www.dylan.org.uk/currentinterests.html

    and http://www.projectionpoint.com/

    Best wishes,

    Dylan Evans
    http://www.dylan.org.uk

  182. #182 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    The notions that animals don’t engage in sex for pleasure, and/or in sexual activities that are orthogonal to reproduction, is widespread. Someone may well have fallen back on “well, humans are the only animals that, um….um…that have oral sex!” in trying to support their argument that humans are unique. The article refutes that.

    And no one has presented anything to support the idea that she was making any such specific argument. I’ve asked about this several times. I’ve asked Dr. Evans several questions concerning this, which so far he hasn’t responded to.

  183. #183 Walton
    May 15, 2010

    I’m fairly convinced that it wasn’t his intent to harass anyone or to do anything inappropriate. I think he’s fairly clueless about boundaries and what the problem is with this conduct, as evidenced by some of his statements here.

    Maybe he is “clueless about boundaries”; I don’t know him well enough to make that judgment (and neither do you). But even if he is “clueless about boundaries”, so am I, and so are many people; I find it very hard to understand and follow the norms of human social interaction. This is not a particularly uncommon trait. But most importantly, it is not his fault; and it is not fair to punish him for his behaviour when he had no idea he was doing anything wrong.

    He clearly had no idea that she was offended by his behaviour. I’m not necessarily saying she should have confronted him about it directly; but the responsible administrators could and should have settled this through an off-the-record informal talk, not formal disciplinary sanctions. If he did not do anything intentionally wrong – and you seem to be acknowledging that he did not – it is entirely unfair to take public sanctions against him, drag his reputation through the mud and ruin his career.

    If so, counseling and monitoring may be appropriate.

    You make it sound so innocuous, but it isn’t. Even if the sanctions are later lifted, what has already happened will ruin his professional reputation and career.

    I think it’s pretty clear that the university president and other administrators acted in a grossly unjust way. The university should apologise and pay him financial compensation.

  184. #184 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    The references to gambling concern…

    So that’s all you’re going to respond to? FFS. I already said that I found them odd, even without context.

    ***

    (By the way, it’s strange for people to describe this as “oral sex.” It’s licking during sex, not fellatio to orgasm.)

  185. #185 Louis
    May 15, 2010

    Wait, this guy is researching human behaviour. How do we know this is not all an experiment?

    Louis

    P.S. For once I am not joking. The serious issues of sexual harrassment/false or exaggerated allegations aside, I can’t help but be curious that not all is as it appears.

  186. #186 Jadehawk, OM
    May 15, 2010

    Again, I switch it to a pro-evolution article shown to a creationist. If it was interpreted by the creationist as a joke with religious overtones, then they need to be given the same freedoms to be free from such offense.

    you’re equating offense based on a chosen characteristic with offense based on an innate, and culturally often oppressed, characteristic.

    The accurate parallel would be showing a black colleague an article about some species’ differential treatment of subspecies (favoring one over the other), or showing a gay colleague an article about “gay” animals also performing reproductive sex.

    Are those examples inherently a form of harassment? no; but they could become part of it, given the context.

    Free speech does end where “creating a hostile and discriminatory work environment” begins.

  187. #187 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    Assuming my assessment of Dylan Evans? school policy is accurate (Dylan?), the bottom line seems to be: as long as Dylan Evans cannot appeal the investigation report, he is in no win situation.
    If he ever petitions to changing the school policy, I?ll sure be signing it.

  188. #188 Azkyroth
    May 15, 2010

    Also, I think perhaps the idea that women will lie about harassment at the drop of a hat is so ingrained that no one is asking exactly what sort of person she would need to be to ruin someone’s career and possibly subject them to criminal investigation just because she was losing an argument.

    We are talking about a *complete* psychopath here, right?

    Or just a person with a significant impulse control problem and difficulty thinking through the likely consequences of their actions – someone who wasn’t planning to try to ruin his academic career, who was just angry and wanted to lash out somehow without really thinking about what would follow, but now feels unable or unwilling to back down – or the situation’s out of her hands. I’m perfectly aware that this characterization is consistent with a persistent, obnoxious, and sexist stereotype about female behavior, and that I assume this will be the only thing that half the commenters here take away from my post, but people like this do exist – I’m in the process of divorcing one, actually.

  189. #189 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    @SC OM POST 182

    Sorry for not answering your question before. It’s 1130pm here and I’m exhausted. I’m off to bed now, but before I go:

    SC OM: The complainant had specifically stated to me a few weeks before I showed her the paper that animals don’t engage in sex for pleasure.

    JEMAND: Sorry for the capital letters! I wasn’t shouting – just typing with the caps lock on, and half-asleep.

    Good night everyone!

    Dylan Evans
    http://www.dylan.org.uk

  190. #190 JustALurker
    May 15, 2010

    By the way, it’s strange for people to describe this as “oral sex.” It’s licking during sex, not fellatio to orgasm.)

    So if I just lick it before he sticks it, it’s not fellatio?

    Fellatio, also called fellation,[1] is oral sex performed upon the penis. It may be performed to induce orgasm and ejaculation of semen, or it can be used as foreplay prior to vaginal or anal forms of intercourse.

    I think licking it while having sex is appropriately called fellatio. I refuse to google that to find out though. I really do not want to see what Rule 34 has in store for results. =)

  191. #191 Jadehawk, OM
    May 15, 2010

    Maybe he is “clueless about boundaries”; I don’t know him well enough to make that judgment (and neither do you). But even if he is “clueless about boundaries”, so am I, and so are many people; I find it very hard to understand and follow the norms of human social interaction. This is not a particularly uncommon trait. But most importantly, it is not his fault; and it is not fair to punish him for his behaviour when he had no idea he was doing anything wrong.

    the point is that acting in and perpetrating privilege is always not on purpose, but out of ignorance. Creating a hostile environment while being unaware of doing so is not harmless and requires correction. You can’t fight privilege any other way.

    How this relates to this specific case I don’t know; what the best course of action is I don’t know either; but “he didn’t do it on purpose!” is not actually a reason to pretend nothing happened and leave the boundary cluelessness unaddressed.

  192. #192 Bride of Shrek OM
    May 15, 2010

    As someone who interviews criminals for a living (and I am NOT asserting anyone is a criminal here )I think I have a fairly attuned bullshit radar when someone is fleshing out a complaint. This is a fairly natural occurence when Complainants make statements and one of my hardest jobs is to keep people to the facts as they stand and not try to turn them in some way to support their case in a perhaps subconscious attempt to influence the reader of the complaint.

    I’m reading the complaint here and some parts of it are just pinging that radar. I make no comment on whether the general assertion is true but I’m having a hard time with the whole “fascinated with Cassanova because he slept with hundreds of women” part as well as the focus on gambling bits. This is just an opinion obviously but I feel someone is twisting some otherwise innocuous facts to make it look like Evans is a player.

  193. #193 Ken
    May 15, 2010

    ‘Tis Himself, OM:

    Yes, I’m a big believer in the marketplace of ideas being a better resolution to disagreements than the justice system. That’s why I thought that Simon Singh should be allowed to state his case against homeopathy in an open academic environment rather than have the court system decide which side was correct.

    Speech needs to have some pretty serious direct harm before I would consider having the government, in the form of the courts, decide what should and shouldn’t be censored. In academia I think the standards need to be even looser.

    broboxley OT #178:

    Huh? Academics should never exchange peer reviewed articles with each other unless they can prove that the article applies to a narrow set of current interests? And if they can’t prove that narrow set of interests they should be punished?

    Serendipity can play a wonderful supporting role in scientific discoveries. You should never limit yourself to a narrow set of inputs.

    But, for some reason, you think it would be OK if someone was paying me to pass on an article. Actually I think that would be a less valid situation due to potential conflicts of interest.

  194. #194 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    Ken @179,
    I actually agree with what you said, it is just that is not the point I made.
    The report links ?showing an academic article? to ?a joke with sexual innuendo?. While we have not yet been presented any evidence that validate such a link in this case, it is conceivable that such a link is possible. And in that case, what is inappropriate is no longer ?showing an academic article?, but telling ?a joke with sexual innuendo?. I am really curious to know what kind of evidence the investigation had that established this link. Without that evidence, I would be totally as outrageous as anyone else.
    My other point is that the lack of an appeal mechanism in Dylan?s school is appalling, and is totally unfair to him.

  195. #195 Walton
    May 15, 2010

    How this relates to this specific case I don’t know; what the best course of action is I don’t know either; but “he didn’t do it on purpose!” is not actually a reason to pretend nothing happened and leave the boundary cluelessness unaddressed.

    I’m not saying it is. But it also isn’t a good reason to take formal disciplinary sanctions against him, drag his name through the mud and ruin his career.

    I reiterate: as far as we can tell from the evidence, he was given absolutely no warning or indication that she felt offended or threatened by his behaviour. It is grossly unfair to punish him when he had no idea, and no way of knowing, that he was doing anything wrong.

    Yes, sexism and harassment in the workplace are real problems. And yes, behaviour can be intended entirely innocently and yet be unacceptable. But people are entitled to fair warning if their behaviour is crossing other people’s boundaries. It is certainly not fair to punish and humiliate someone, and ruin his career prospects, when he had no idea that his behaviour was inappropriate and was given no warning.

    He should get a large financial payout from the university, and a personal apology from the president. Nothing short of this would be acceptable.

  196. #196 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    Maybe he is “clueless about boundaries”; I don’t know him well enough to make that judgment (and neither do you).

    I’m making the tentative judgment based on what I now know, including from his comments here.

    But even if he is “clueless about boundaries”, so am I, and so are many people; I find it very hard to understand and follow the norms of human social interaction. This is not a particularly uncommon trait. But most importantly, it is not his fault; and it is not fair to punish him for his behaviour when he had no idea he was doing anything wrong.

    If his cluelessness about boundaries leads him to behave in a way that is inappropriate and in violation of the established norms of his workplace, it is fair to address it.

    He clearly had no idea that she was offended by his behaviour.

    If so, that’s a problem, because his behavior appears to have been sexually inappropriate on this occasion.

    I’m not necessarily saying she should have confronted him about it directly;

    Good, because we don’t know all of the specifics. What we do know is that she went to the Head of School to report it.

    but the responsible administrators could and should have settled this through an off-the-record informal talk, not formal disciplinary sanctions.

    Possibly. Again, we don’t know the details.

    If he did not do anything intentionally wrong – and you seem to be acknowledging that he did not – it is entirely unfair to take public sanctions against him, drag his reputation through the mud and ruin his career.

    If counseling and monitoring are appropriate, they are appropriate.

    You make it sound so innocuous, but it isn’t. Even if the sanctions are later lifted, what has already happened will ruin his professional reputation and career.

    This has nothing to do with innocuousness. If he is behaving in a way that is sexually inappropriate, that has to be dealt with somehow.

  197. #197 Kirk
    May 15, 2010

    If Catwoman is involved in Batsex is it still Batsex?

  198. #198 jemand
    May 15, 2010

    “SC OM: The complainant had specifically stated to me a few weeks before I showed her the paper that animals don’t engage in sex for pleasure.”

    Ok, now I am 100% on your side. Although I will say this is a good reason to conduct such debates through email or instant message lol. Sending a link to an article in an electronically recorded medium which remains to be read in it’s entirety later by anyone is almost impossible to misinterpret or misconstrue later.

  199. #199 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    Security footage from the dinner at the restaurant clearly shows the complainant ordering a toasted tuna melt sandwich, holding the entire sandwich vertically and licking the hot fish from between the two slices of bread.
    Following the tuna melt appetizer, the complainant proceeded to a main course of grilled bratwurst, each sausage being slowly and repeatedly slid in and out of her mouth three full lengths before being swallowed whole.
    Taken alone, these might appear unrelated to the peer reviewed article which prompted her allegation. However, the video also shows that after inhaling the bratwurst, the complainant rose from her chair, tied her napkin over her eyes and navigated about the restaurant at great speed, making high pitched shrieks and navigating by means of sonar.
    Furthermore, it is established that the complainant, at the time the peer reviewed article was presented to her in her office, was hanging from the light fixture by her toes while wrapped in a large black sheet.
    In view of this additional evidence, we cannot conclude that the complaint has any merit, and suggest an increase in her daily ration of crickets.

  200. #200 Azkyroth
    May 15, 2010

    Also, I think perhaps the idea that women will lie about harassment at the drop of a hat is so ingrained that no one is asking exactly what sort of person she would need to be to ruin someone’s career and possibly subject them to criminal investigation just because she was losing an argument.

    We are talking about a *complete* psychopath here, right?

    Another possibility occurs to me: I’m not an academic but I’ve heard quite a bit about the level of competition and backstabbing that goes on in many academic circles. Prof. Evans and his colleagure wouldn’t possibly have been in competition for a specific tenured position, or liable to be in competition for it in the future, would they?

  201. #201 jemand
    May 15, 2010

    Azkyroth, that speculation seems particularly prone to backfiring *badly.* Though maybe I think that because I’m not a psychopath.

  202. #202 Walton
    May 15, 2010

    If his cluelessness about boundaries leads him to behave in a way that is inappropriate and in violation of the established norms of his workplace, it is fair to address it.

    Strawman. No one is saying it wasn’t “fair to address it”. I’m saying it wasn’t fair to impose formal disciplinary sanctions on him, out of the blue, when he had no idea he was doing anything wrong, and had been given no indication whatsoever that his behaviour was in any way unacceptable.

    If counseling and monitoring are appropriate, they are appropriate.

    You can’t just ignore the kind of impact it could have on his entire life and career prospects: the effect of being publicly punished and humiliated, and having his reputation dragged through the mud on the internet.

    Even if the sanctions are lifted, he will now face significantly increased difficulties in the rest of his professional life, due to the damage this has done to his reputation. The only thing that could ameliorate this is a full, unconditional public apology and retraction from the university.

    If he is behaving in a way that is sexually inappropriate, that has to be dealt with somehow.

    Again, strawman. I never said it shouldn’t. But it should have been dealt with in a non-punitive way.

    As I said, I don’t have great social skills or boundary-awareness myself. But if I were behaving in a way that made someone else feel uncomfortable, and didn’t realise it, then I would immediately apologise and stop the offending behaviour if I were told about it. Likewise, Dr Evans should have been told about the problem and given a fair chance to change his behaviour, before any kind of formal procedures were initiated.

    It is not fair to expect everyone in the world to have a perfect sense of what does and doesn’t make others feel uncomfortable. The only way people can be expected to know what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable, in any given relationship – professional or personal – is if they are told about it, and clear boundaries are laid down.

  203. #203 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    @AZKYROTH – POST #200

    [I can't sleep, so have logged back on....]

    > Prof. Evans and his colleagure wouldn’t possibly
    > have been in competition for a specific tenured
    > position, or liable to be in competition for it
    > in the future, would they?

    I already had a “permanent contract” – i.e. a tenure-track position.

    The complainant was on a temporary contract. She was actually already in the process of applying for jobs at other universities when I showed her the paper. She has since obtained a job at a university in another country and quit her job at UCC.

    Her husband is also leaving UCC, to accompany her to her new destination abroad.

    Dylan Evans
    http://www.dylan.org.uk

  204. #204 JustALurker
    May 15, 2010

    Azkyroth, that speculation seems particularly prone to backfiring *badly.* Though maybe I think that because I’m not a psychopath.

    So does murdering for the insurance money but people still do it. And as PZ pointed out, threatening a bogus claim to get an A on an exam. Deranged indeed but people will justify and go to extraordinary lengths for some obviously stupid shit. I’m not saying that’s what happened here but it’s a possibility.

  205. #205 Ken
    May 15, 2010

    Jadehawk, OM #186

    Yes, I see your analogy is much better and more thought out than mine. I was purposely trying to chose an analogy that would appeal to this audience and that sent me astray.

    Still, even using your analogy, I think we need to err on the side of openness instead of the side of censorship. Offense comes in many forms and can not always be avoided. Protecting from “obvious” offense is problematic since we have to censor in a gray area now.I think it’s better to bring the different views out into an open market rather than censor them.

    If someone called me a derogatory term all the time I would raise the issue in the open with as many people as possible and argue that the term didn’t apply to me. I could turn the harassment around on the harasser that way and allow everyone to have a better understanding of the situation.

    As soon as limits are placed on freedom of speech, the problem always is not allowing the line to keep inching towards censorship. I’m always wary of anyone who has a sentence that starts “Free speech does end…” Those sentences need to be VERY rare. I often wonder if it would be so bad to live in a society where we really have no such sentences.

    After all, it’s not a crime to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. It’s a crime to cause physical harm in a theater after yelling “Fire!” when there was no indication of fire.

    And I still see no reason to censor the distribution of academic articles just because they offend someone. If Dr. XXXX was offended, then other people might be as well. Perhaps we should get the journal to retract the article so as not to cause further offense to anyone else? And make them recall all of that particular issue.

  206. #206 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    SC OM: The complainant had specifically stated to me a few weeks before I showed her the paper that animals don’t engage in sex for pleasure.

    A) Assuming this is true…Purely for pleasure? How is this study relevant?

    B) Above: “citing the human practice of oral sex would be an unusual way to make an argument for human exceptionalism, but that there is now evidence to combat even that.” Hmmm.

    So if I just lick it before he sticks it, it’s not fellatio?

    It’s different from what the bats are doing. (OK, technically “oral sex,” but not analogous.)

    It is grossly unfair to punish him when he had no idea, and no way of knowing, that he was doing anything wrong.

    No way of knowing? Bullshit. People have every reason to be circumspect about sex talk in a work environment. And the fact is that he knows now, and still appears clueless.

  207. #207 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    ?He should get a large financial payout from the university, and a personal apology from the president. Nothing short of this would be acceptable.? Walton @195

    Two issues here.

    1. I have no idea how the investigation team came to the conclusion to uphold the second complaint. If it is solid evidence, Dylan deserves punishment, not compensation
    2. If the investigation conclusion is false, due to the lack of appeal mechanism, this report still accompanies Dylan permanently. And no financial compensation, imo, would be sufficient for Dylan.

  208. #208 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    I should add that my girlfriend also works in the School of Medicine at UCC, and was on good terms with the complainant until the latter filed the complaint against me.

    My girlfriend was utterly shocked when I told her about the complaint. She couldn’t understand why the complainant hadn’t mentioned anything about this to me or her before, despite having many opportunities. For the next few months, until the complainant left UCC, my girlfriend would often bump into the complainant at work. She found it weird to go suddenly from having friendly conversations with the complainant to having to avert her gaze whenever they met.

    Dylan Evans
    http://www.dylan.org.uk

  209. #209 JustALurker
    May 15, 2010

    My comment 204

    I’m not saying that’s what happened here but it’s a possibility.

    I made that statement before I saw comment 203 showed this was not the case here. It could however, still be a possibility in other situations like this.

  210. #210 Rob
    May 15, 2010

    This whole thing is absurd. The fact that Dr. Evans made the complainant uncomfortable is certainly an important and serious issue. However, the lack of any attempt to communicate with Dr. Evans about the boundary issues and the refusal to accept any kind of mediation reflects very poorly on the complainant. Even accepting entirely her version of the events, there is nothing in the complaint that couldn’t be resolved by two rational, mature adults in a 5 minute conversation.

  211. #211 Jadehawk, OM
    May 15, 2010

    Still, even using your analogy, I think we need to err on the side of openness instead of the side of censorship. Offense comes in many forms and can not always be avoided. Protecting from “obvious” offense is problematic since we have to censor in a gray area now.I think it’s better to bring the different views out into an open market rather than censor them.

    If someone called me a derogatory term all the time I would raise the issue in the open with as many people as possible and argue that the term didn’t apply to me. I could turn the harassment around on the harasser that way and allow everyone to have a better understanding of the situation.

    wow, the privilege is dripping from this one :-/

    we’re not talking about individual “offense”, we’re talking about harassment against a traditionally oppressed group. It’s not specifically about the sharing of a single article, but about creating a hostile work enviroment; you don’t create a hostile work environment with a single act.

    And there’s no such thing as “turning the harassment around”; insults that travel down a social gradient have an entirely different and more severe impact that ones that travel up the social gradient.

  212. #212 Azkyroth
    May 15, 2010

    I was also subject to accusations of harassment, once upon a time.

    I don’t have the patience to wade through this whole thread. Did Hank Fox, etc. ever take issue with the fact that we’re only getting PZ’s side of things here?

  213. #213 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    This lengthy thread has consisted largely (and lamentably) of various speculations about what MAY have happened and what the principals MAY have intended or known.
    Frankly, this is all pretty much irrelevant to the threshold problem which resolves the entire matter.

    It is established, by the evidence of the both parties, that the complainant NEVER objected to the behaviour of the respondent; never advised him that his comments or actions were objectionable, or that they caused any form of discomfort or distress.

    A complaint of harassment may not be initiated, nor should same form the basis of any sort of investigation, conclusion or sanction, in the absence of a prior demand that the impugned actions cease.

    Harassment is REPEATED behaviour SUBSEQUENT TO a demand that said behaviour STOP.
    Simply put, if you don’t say, “Stop that. It offends me,” you have not met the threshold for initiating a formal complaint that you are being harassed.

    Whether or not Evans was making leering, suggestive comments using innuendo is irrelevant.
    Whether or not the complainant really was upset and offended by what she perceived as suggestive, inappropriate behaviour is irrelevant.
    If she, as she freely admits, never once told Evans to cut it out, she has no business filing a complaint, and the university has no business taking it up. The sanctions are not appropriate and ought to be lifted.

  214. #214 Ken
    May 15, 2010

    superheadcat #194:

    Got it. I wasn’t properly reading for content there. Sorry.

  215. #215 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    Strawman. No one is saying it wasn’t “fair to address it”. I’m saying it wasn’t fair to impose formal disciplinary sanctions on him, out of the blue, when he had no idea he was doing anything wrong, and had been given no indication whatsoever that his behaviour was in any way unacceptable.

    There are policies about this. People are expected to be aware of them.

    You can’t just ignore the kind of impact it could have on his entire life and career prospects: the effect of being publicly punished and humiliated, and having his reputation dragged through the mud on the internet.

    If counseling and monitoring are appropriate, they are appropriate.

    Even if the sanctions are lifted, he will now face significantly increased difficulties in the rest of his professional life, due to the damage this has done to his reputation.

    What is a reputation based on?

    As I said, I don’t have great social skills or boundary-awareness myself. But if I were behaving in a way that made someone else feel uncomfortable, and didn’t realise it, then I would immediately apologise and stop the offending behaviour if I were told about it. Likewise, Dr Evans should have been told about the problem and given a fair chance to change his behaviour, before any kind of formal procedures were initiated.

    He’s defending his behavior here. He’s perplexed that she was offended. He’s perplexed that the investigators would find that response reasonable. What is your response to that?

    It is not fair to expect everyone in the world to have a perfect sense of what does and doesn’t make others feel uncomfortable.

    It’s fair to expect people to not behave in sexually inappropriate ways at work.

    The only way people can be expected to know what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable, in any given relationship – professional or personal – is if they are told about it, and clear boundaries are laid down.

    Does this university have a policy? Does Evans have sense?

  216. #216 jemand
    May 15, 2010

    @ cousinavi,

    I can think of one exception, (not valid here), someone with more power in the company/school, who continually issues veiled threats, telling stories of what happened to previous recruits who “told” or were “oversensitive,” etc, mixed in with offensive comments.

    Pretty clear that in such cases one really doesn’t have to say stop, because the harassment includes messages underlining the inability of someone to say stop. Then again, if any of the stories are *true,* not too much you can do anyway.

  217. #217 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 15, 2010

    You know, I would think the fact that people are doing a lot of speculation about this matter is an indication that we don’t have enough info to come to an informed opinion. I can’t see signing a petition under those circumstances.

    Certainly we can imagine ways in which an article could be used in a “creepy” way that would make a person–especially, but not necessarily a women–uncomfortable.

    We can also imagine someone overreacting to goodnatured fun.

    Imagination isn’t a good basis for decision making.

  218. #218 evansd66#3f76d
    May 15, 2010

    @SC OM – POST #175

    > there does seem to be something you’re
    > Fundamentally not getting

    There sure is! If you do get it, can you please explain?

    Dylan

  219. #219 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    ?Whether or not Evans was making leering, suggestive comments using innuendo is irrelevant.
    Whether or not the complainant really was upset and offended by what she perceived as suggestive, inappropriate behaviour is irrelevant. Whether or not Evans was making leering, suggestive comments using innuendo is irrelevant. Whether or not the complainant really was upset and offended by what she perceived as suggestive, inappropriate behaviour is irrelevant.? Cousinavi @213

    According to the President, the school policy ?does not prevent any member of staff from making a formal complaint of sexual harassment should they chose to do so? and ?does not require a complainant to attempt to resolve their concerns using informal means?.

    Compounding that with what Dylan mentioned ?no provision for appealing the investigation?s conclusion under the relevant policy?, OUCH!

  220. #220 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2iHXmHs5tNP0aY2gFd0_n6Fa5NFvsj3BltZQuDo-#44b66
    May 15, 2010

    I had a strong suspicion even before the extra links were added that this was about sexual harassment. Why? Because two things very characteristic of harassers is, (1) the ability to use ambiguity to their advantage; and (b) an exaggerated sense of victimhood. Dr. Evans’ behavior shows both.

    Ambiguity = harassers know just how to toe the line while keeping themselves safe. Ambiguous comments or actions that leave you wondering what exactly was meant; or saying something overtly offensive and then saying “just a joke!”, etc. On the subway, there are guys who will grope you in a crowd so you don’t really know where the hand is coming from – they rely on that uncertainty and on the victim’s reluctance to shout out to the entire subway crowd.

    Harassers also gravitate to victims they think can’t defend themselves – often the less powerful women, or those who are somehow vulnerable (like the subway women). And the ambiguity often (and reasonably) reduces the victim’s willingness to confront – that’s its main purpose. Harassers will exploit a person’s natural politeness, collegiality and other virtues and use those against them.

    It is true that there is a grey area between harassment and seriously foolish behavior, and sometimes fools get penalized to excess. But this text is egregious enough that Dr. Evans does not deserve benefit of the doubt.(Especially given prior history, esp. Casanova.)

    I also have a feeling that many of the people here who are defending Evans would no way, no how circulate that article to coworkers or other non-intimates in their own lives. They should examine that disconnect. Context, as others have pointed out, is everything. I haven’t heard anyone say the article constitutes harassment here on Pharyngula, for instance.

    in my experience, people who haven’t been harassed or discriminated against, and can’t imagine themselves being harassed or discriminated against, have a hard time imagining what it’s like, or the damage it could do, both to individuals and also institutions such as “Academic Freedom.”

    Hillary

  221. #221 Jessie
    May 15, 2010

    Well this is totally confusing for men now, isn’t it? Should they treat female colleagues exactly the same way they would treat male colleagues because their gender is immaterial to their ability to do their job? Or should they treat them in a special way to take account of the fact that they can only be treated as equals if they are not treated as being the same?

  222. #222 Rob
    May 15, 2010

    @Hillary #220

    That article doesn’t constitute harassment in any but the most extreme cases (“Want to try this later, baby?”). And if it does make someone uncomfortable, the mature and rational response would be to communicate that fact to the other party.

  223. #223 Ken
    May 15, 2010

    Jadehawk, OM #211:

    Yes, I’m privileged because I’m actually part of what is considered an “oppressed minority” group. I reject your claim, though, that the words of a white male Anglo-Saxon protestant have a different impact than my words, and am offended by your implication that my words don’t have the same ability to offend as those of the traditionally un-oppressed. I have the ability to offend with the best of any offenders!

    Attempting to shift traditional racist or sexist actions through mandatory changes in hiring practices and punishment of actions such as unjust salary disparities are justified and very different than telling someone what they can, or can not, say. I’ll defend myself from verbal abuse. I don’t the government to do it for me.

    As for there being no such thing as turning social harassment around, directed up the social gradient, you are simply wrong. Check out the works of people like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, or Harvey Milk.

  224. #224 echidna
    May 15, 2010

    Politeness is a two-edged sword. It allows us to function as a society, but it also leads to situations like this, and some of the religious vs education wars we are having.

    I think that politeness needs to be tempered with forthrightness. Excess politeness is a problem in itself, because the natural feedback mechanisms that damp anti-social behaviour are blocked.

  225. #225 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 15, 2010

    SC – I must strenuously disagree with you, and while not meaning to be provocative or insulting, it really does seem to me that you’re inclined to believe there was something inappropriate going on, and you’re listening to that inclination and not so much to the evidence.

    Dylan clearly posted an email from the complainant that she sent to him after one of the alleged incidents. He is correct that that is not the sort of email (it’s friendly and social) that one sends if one thinks one has been sexually harassed by the recipient of the email. I don’t see how anyone could reasonably disagree with that.

    You are questioning Dylan’s motives so intensely and in such detail in a way that makes it look like you are fundamentally suspicious about how he presented this article, simply because it’s sexual. You seem to be requiring that there must be extremely specific circumstances that must be met if presenting the article is not to be seen as inherently inappropriate. I think that’s unreasonable, and I wonder why you’re placing the burden of proof of Dylan to prove his actions were not salacious.

    You write:

    It’s fair to expect people to not behave in sexually inappropriate ways at work.

    I’m sorry, but that smuggles in an unspoken assumption that Dylan behaved sexually inappropriately. That has not been established, and indeed, the evidence argues against that.

    You questioned (excessively suspiciously, in my view) whether Dylan had an appropriate reason to show the article to his colleague. He responded:

    The complainant had specifically stated to me a few weeks before I showed her the paper that animals don’t engage in sex for pleasure.

    This did nothing to quell your suspicion: you seemed to place even more detailed conditions –

    A) Assuming this is true…Purely for pleasure? How is this study relevant?

    SC, I respect you, especially for your unerring sense of justice. But I think you’re being most unreasonable here, and quite unfair. As much as I hate to say this, it looks very plain that you are strongly biased to see this as a sexual harassment incident, and that you’re working very, very hard not to give Dylan the benefit of the doubt.

    I hope you know I disagree with you honestly, and I don’t mean to insult. I really hope you’ll consider whether you should reexamine how you view this.

  226. #226 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    @ Hillary

    Ambiguity = harassers know just how to toe the line while keeping themselves safe. Ambiguous comments or actions that leave you wondering what exactly was meant; or saying something overtly offensive and then saying “just a joke!”, etc. On the subway, there are guys who will grope you in a crowd so you don’t really know where the hand is coming from – they rely on that uncertainty and on the victim’s reluctance to shout out to the entire subway crowd.

    Harassers know?
    The presumption that anything done by Dr. Evans was in any way intentional is simply not borne out by the evidence of either the complainant, Dr. Evans, or the report from the investigators.
    Making this argument demonstrates the bias you bring to the discussion, and therefore the value of your comment.

    Groping on a subway train is not harassment. It is sexual ASSAULT. Conflating the two is disingenuous at best, and contemptible at worst.

    There is no reason whatsoever, especially in the context of the previous discussion between the principals regarding whether or not oral sex for pleasure exists in animals, to argue that you would not circulate such an article to “others”.
    Evans is NOT accused of running about campus, accosting total strangers, thrusting the article in their faces and yammering about how bats give head…is he?
    He is accused of HARASSING a colleague (an assertion that is disposed of by the complainants own evidence that she NEVER advised him – not once – that ANY of his comments caused discomfort) by presenting a peer reviewed article directly related to a previous debate (which they both acknowledge) – an article he showed to other colleagues about the same time.
    Is it your contention that Evans was sexually harassing EVERYONE? Or just covering up his unrestrained desire to harass this one colleague by showing the same article to other interested professionals who were involved in the debate?

    Arguing about “What harassers do” has no more value in this narrow instance than arguing about what false accusers do – especially so when you then twist and imagine facts to support your predisposition, and drag issues of assault into the mix.

    Ambiguous comments, indeed. If the comment is ambiguous, Evans is entitled to the benefit of the doubt – a legal principal universities would do well to acknowledge, as would the complainant in THIS instance.

  227. #227 JustALurker
    May 15, 2010

    I also have a feeling that many of the people here who are defending Evans would no way, no how circulate that article to coworkers or other non-intimates in their own lives.

    I wouldn’t circulate it but there’s a difference in environments is all. The two had an ongoing discussion about a topic and he brought this into the discussion. Even if you don’t take his word on this discussion it may have been relevant in other ways or he was just overly excited about something related to his field. This is in an institute of higher learning where sharing the research is more appropriate than say if you worked at a Starbucks or a call center. I may share it with a co-worker or two who I knew would be interested in learning or not be offended. He may have thought this colleague to be one of these types of people. He was clearly wrong. However, since my work environments have nothing to do with this, or peer-reviewed literature at all I will not be sharing this. Also, I don’t have co-workers as friends so I don’t know if they will be interested or not offended by this so again, I will not be sharing this. The disconnect here is not hypocritical, it is simply acknowledging context.

    I will however, share it on Facebook and if non-intimates get offended they can fuck off my page. Context is everything here =)

  228. #228 Jadehawk, OM
    May 15, 2010

    I have the ability to offend with the best of any offenders!

    on a personal level? sure.

    but you’d have to be wilfully ignorant to think that for example sexually explicit comments directed at a woman have the same effect as when they’re directed at a man.

    As for there being no such thing as turning social harassment around, directed up the social gradient, you are simply wrong. Check out the works of people like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, or Harvey Milk.

    you seriously think the work of these three men actually constitutes an equal reversal of harassment? REALLY?

  229. #229 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    There sure is! If you do get it, can you please explain?

    Sure. Try to put yourself in another’s position. You’re a woman. You’re at work. A male colleague pops into your office, tosses at you an article about (coerced?) fellatio, and asks for a response. The article isn’t directly related to your work or professional debates. The colleague is going around the School with the article, trying to make some point about women’s sexual behavior. Is this appropriate? Would you be comfortable with this? If the colleague had come to your office talking about sex before?

    I’ll note that you still haven’t answered my questions @ #148.

  230. #230 Walton
    May 15, 2010

    It is important to reiterate that Dr Evans, like everyone else accused of wrongdoing, is entitled to a PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE. He is innocent until proven guilty. A lot of people above, particularly Hillary, seem to be forgetting or disregarding this.

  231. #231 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    Hilary @ 220
    I am a bit confused regarding the ?ambiguity? characteristic: if a ?victim? is not sure if the ?harasser? (notice how you directly used these terms from the get go) is doing something improper, this fact itself indicates that the ?harasser? is indeed doing something improper.

    Come again?

    What evidence do you have for the assertion that ?Dr. Evans’ behavior shows? that ?Dr. Evans’ behavior shows” that [he] ?know[s] just how to toe the line while keeping [himself] safe?? Because we have not presented a clear cut evidence that he behaved improperly?

  232. #232 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    More documents pertaining to this case were added:
    See:

  233. #233 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    The two had an ongoing discussion about a topic and he brought this into the discussion.

    The evidence of its relevance to any alleged debate is pretty thin gruel.

    Even if you don’t take his word on this discussion it may have been relevant in other ways or he was just overly excited about something related to his field.

    Please. What are the important implications of this for human sexuality?

  234. #234 dutchdoc
    May 15, 2010

    #232: Something went wrong: link

  235. #235 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 15, 2010

    SC:

    A male colleague pops into your office, tosses at you an article about (coerced?) fellatio, and asks for a response. The article isn’t directly related to your work or professional debates.

    Again – why are you failing to acknowledge that Dylan has state multiple times this was part of an ongoing conversation (academic) between the two of them? Why are you presenting it as if it were out of the blue and “unrelated.”

    If you simply don’t believe Dylan’s claim, then you should say that, but you have an obligation to at least acknowledge that he has stated that it has a context.

  236. #236 Walton
    May 15, 2010

    But this text is egregious enough that Dr. Evans does not deserve benefit of the doubt.

    Everyone is entitled, as of right, to “the benefit of the doubt”. Especially when their professional reputation and career is on the line. This is a fundamental principle of justice. The onus is on the accuser, not the accused, to make his or her case.

  237. #237 m.schellingerhout
    May 15, 2010
  238. #238 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    Again – why are you failing to acknowledge that Dylan has state multiple times this was part of an ongoing conversation (academic) between the two of them? Why are you presenting it as if it were out of the blue and “unrelated.”

    If you simply don’t believe Dylan’s claim, then you should say that, but you have an obligation to at least acknowledge that he has stated that it has a context.

    He’s provided no evidence of the alleged context, and I’ve asked him about the specific relevance of the article several times.

  239. #239 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 15, 2010

    SC:

    The evidence of its relevance to any alleged debate is pretty thin gruel.

    But. . .he already explained its relevance:

    The evidence of its relevance to any alleged debate is pretty thin gruel.

    How is that “thin gruel?” Really SC – I’m having a hard time here, because this seems so unlike you. Why is the debate “alleged,” but the complainant’s actual allegations don’t draw a similar level of skepticism or scrutiny from you?

  240. #240 JustALurker
    May 15, 2010

    Had she made an argument that is related to it (i.e., specifically about the uniqueness of human sexual practices)?

    He addressed this in comment 189

    SC OM: The complainant had specifically stated to me a few weeks before I showed her the paper that animals don’t engage in sex for pleasure.

    The fact that sex lasts longer when the female performs fellatio while having sex suggests that it’s for pleasure. Since for reproduction all he has to is get in, cum and get out. It doesn’t need to take that long, and he doesn’t necessarily need it to be licked since the bats still reproduce when fellatio isn’t performed.

    This is of course, if you believe him. I just wanted to point this out. In case you missed it so you may address this and what ever concerns you may have with this.

  241. #241 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    @ Walton

    It is important to reiterate that Dr Evans, like everyone else accused of wrongdoing, is entitled to a PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE. He is innocent until proven guilty.

    While I agree with just about everything you’ve posted here, and I don’t disagree with the principle you state above, it should be pointed out that the presumption of innocence only truly applies in criminal trials (and, sadly, not very well there, practically speaking).
    Nevertheless, in the forum of offensive speech / sexual harassment hearings on university campuses, no such presumption exists in either theory or practice which is binding on the school, or on its investigatory committees.
    It is a rather sad truth that, in too many instances, politically correct policies have been drafted which appear, on their face, to include a presumption of guilt in that they impose sanctions from the moment a complaint is filed (restriction of teaching duties / banishment from campus and/or faculty offices), as well as place the burden of proof on the respondent to demonstrate innocence.
    The demands of the criminal law which bind the state and define the burden of proof required to ground a criminal conviction simply do not transfer to administrative procedures within the confines of private institutions.
    Just sayin’. But, please…keep fighting the principled fight.

  242. #242 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 15, 2010

    He’s provided no evidence of the alleged context, and I’ve asked him about the specific relevance of the article several times.

    What evidence do you want? A tape recording? A video? What could he produce that would satisfy you? Seriously – what are you asking for?

    The relevance of the article is obvious, SC. If they were indeed having a debate about whether only humans have sex for pleasure, it’s entirely plausible that someone would view an article describing bat fellatio during intercourse as an argument against that proposition. A complete argument? No. Open to debate? Yes.

    But you’re not even willing to grant that it’s an appropriate starting point. And I think that’s unreasonable – obviously unreasonable, and an indication of bias on your part.

  243. #243 Walton
    May 15, 2010

    While I agree with just about everything you’ve posted here, and I don’t disagree with the principle you state above, it should be pointed out that the presumption of innocence only truly applies in criminal trials (and, sadly, not very well there, practically speaking).

    It’s true that the presumption of innocence is primarily a principle of criminal law. But in cases such as this, I would argue that the interests at stake for the accused person – loss of professional reputation and career prospects, potential loss of employment – are sufficiently important that he should be afforded the same kind of procedural protection. Natural justice and fairness require that it is for the accuser, not the accused, to prove his or her case.

  244. #244 JustALurker
    May 15, 2010

    @240

    Ah, sorry. Clearly, this was already pointed to you and addressed. I didn’t refresh the page as I was reading through. Apologies.

  245. #245 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    Posted by: SC OM
    He’s provided no evidence of the alleged context, and I’ve asked him about the specific relevance of the article several times.

    Sorry…you are not entitled to your own facts.
    Not only did the original post by PZ specifically refer to the context in which the article was presented, but various posts in this thread, as well as by Dr. Evans himself – including the formal documents appended to the original post via hyperlink – SPECIFICALLY REFERENCE the context in which the article was presented.

    The claim that he has provided no evidence of context is simply wrong, and in the face of the clear and obvious evidence to the contrary, simply stubbornly obtuse.

    Feel free to retract your mistaken premises, and the conclusions based thereupon, at your earliest convenience.

  246. #246 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    SC – I must strenuously disagree with you, and while not meaning to be provocative or insulting, it really does seem to me that you’re inclined to believe there was something inappropriate going on, and you’re listening to that inclination and not so much to the evidence.

    The evidence suggests inappropriate behavior.

    Dylan clearly posted an email from the complainant that she sent to him after one of the alleged incidents. He is correct that that is not the sort of email (it’s friendly and social) that one sends if one thinks one has been sexually harassed by the recipient of the email. I don’t see how anyone could reasonably disagree with that.

    It seems to be inviting him and his girlfriend to join a group table at a professional event, though it’s a bit confusing.

    You are questioning Dylan’s motives so intensely and in such detail in a way that makes it look like you are fundamentally suspicious about how he presented this article,

    I’m asking him questions.

    simply because it’s sexual. You seem to be requiring that there must be extremely specific circumstances that must be met if presenting the article is not to be seen as inherently inappropriate.

    Yes. A male casually presenting an article about fellatio to a female colleague should be well considered, and in many cases is highly problematic. It should be approached as such, and only done carefully and with very good justification.

    I’m sorry, but that smuggles in an unspoken assumption that Dylan behaved sexually inappropriately. That has not been established, and indeed, the evidence argues against that.

    ? Male sexual references directed to women should not be assumed to be innocent.

    But I think you’re being most unreasonable here, and quite unfair. As much as I hate to say this, it looks very plain that you are strongly biased to see this as a sexual harassment incident, and that you’re working very, very hard not to give Dylan the benefit of the doubt.

    There is no substance here.

  247. #247 Ken
    May 15, 2010

    Jadehawk, OM #228

    Not being a woman I have no idea what the effect is compared to what it is being a man. I speculate about the effects on the opposite sex. So do you. We obviously have come to different conclusions about our speculations.

    Regardless of the effects, censorship is almost always a bad solution to the problem.

    MLK et al used the harassment being directed at the oppressed against the bigots. It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually it became more respectable to be a member of the NAACP in America than to be a member of the KKK.

    This came about because of the open marketplace of ideas, not because of censorship. When you try to dictate respect, you actually end up with nothing but obedience. When you discuss ideas, you have the potential to actually change people’s minds.

    So yes, I seriously think that the work of these great leaders ended up reversing a great majority of the harassment they were fighting against. For example it is now socially acceptable in America to ridicule and harass the bigots in the KKK and others like them.

  248. #248 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    @ Walton

    Natural justice and fairness require that it is for the accuser, not the accused, to prove his or her case

    As I hope I made clear, I am in perfect agreement with your argument. I merely point out that it doesn’t carry the day in practice…in far too many places – France (and Quebec), for example.
    Civil Codes often impose the burden of proof on the accused, even in criminal trials.
    And, practically speaking, the accusation is enough to destroy Evan’s career. The charge will run in 20 point type on the front page. The verdict which clears him will appear on page B-17 beneath an article on the beans and pancake fundraiser for the local volunteer fire brigade.
    Justice truly is blind…just not in the way one hopes.

  249. #249 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2iHXmHs5tNP0aY2gFd0_n6Fa5NFvsj3BltZQuDo-#44b66
    May 15, 2010

    Jessie 221: Should they treat female colleagues exactly the same way they would treat male colleague
    They should treat all colleagues professionally

    Rob 222:
    “the mature and rational response would be to communicate that fact to the other party.”
    thanks for your point. // a system that expects everyone to act optimally all the time is not reasonable or feasible. Remember, harassers go out of their way to exploit weakness, and we all have weaknesses. they are also highly manipulative. in other words, they use techniques to disarm the vicitm. I am a very assertive person, and call out harassers on subways, etc. – nevertheless if someone is purposefully acting in bad faith in **any situation** it’s hard for a moral person to defend against that.

    cousinavi 226
    “Groping on a subway train is not harassment. It is sexual ASSAULT. Conflating the two is disingenuous at best, and contemptible at worst”
    Valid point, and I appreciate the important clarification. but both actions are power trips, and I also think my deeper point about ambiguity and disempowerment still holds – they are used by both harassers and assaulters. // I don’t understand the rest of your comment. I never said he was running around harassing everyone.

    Walton 230
    “It is important to reiterate that Dr Evans, like everyone else accused of wrongdoing, is entitled to a PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE. He is innocent until proven guilty. A lot of people above, particularly Hillary, seem to be forgetting or disregarding this.”
    I didn’t forget it – I posted my comment after having seen the judgment by the committee. so he has been “tried.”

  250. #250 PZ Myers
    May 15, 2010

    Dylan Evans is a lecturer in behavioural science. That’s his official title. This is a paper that is about a topic relevant to his discipline.

    Are we really arguing about whether it is appropriate for a scientist to talk about material relevant to his work with another faculty member? Madness.

  251. #251 Bologna Pogna
    May 15, 2010

    I feel no sympathy with this Evans fellow. He played with fire and he got burned, as he should have expected. It’s idiotic to attempt friendship with a female colleague. Friendship is by its very nature a relationship of equals, and one cannot be equal to a person who may ruin one’s career and reputation whenever she chooses to. A man should NEVER, in any circumstances, have anything other than the most distant and perfunctory relationship with a female co-worker. A man should NEVER enter a woman’s office, even if others are present. Any necessary business should be conducted from a safe distance and in full view of numerous witnesses. Men need to realize – a woman who is not your mother or your sister is, by definition, an enemy. They are not to be spoken to, except when this is absolutely unavoidable. They are certainly not to be touched, in any circumstance! A man should literally never touch a non-family woman, even if her life is in danger. Why would any sane man do what Evans did, and place himself entirely under a woman’s power, by allowing himself to physically interact with her!? What a reckless maniac!

    Of course, if he is cursed with heterosexuality, a man will want to interact with women from outside his immediate family, but these women should always be vetted by his mother, and he should not touch a woman or speak to a woman until after the marriage formalities are completed.

  252. #252 windy
    May 15, 2010

    I also have a feeling that many of the people here who are defending Evans would no way, no how circulate that article to coworkers or other non-intimates in their own lives. They should examine that disconnect.

    Er, shouldn’t you ascertain that a disconnect exists first? I have forwarded articles on animal sex to colleagues when it was only tangentially related to anything we had discussed. I don’t see a problem with forwarding this one.

    I’ve also forwarded this article to coworkers as a joke after we discussed communicating science – did I harass them?

    How (not) to communicate new scientific information: a memoir of the famous Brindley lecture

  253. #253 Aquaria
    May 15, 2010

    I also have a feeling that many of the people here who are defending Evans would no way, no how circulate that article to coworkers or other non-intimates in their own lives.

    When I worked for a defense contractor, I had an article stapled to the one wall of “my” work area about the bizarre sex lives of animals. It was no tiny blurb; it took up an entire page. Everyone in the department could see it hanging there.

    I did that in response to several boneheaded remarks about animals in general. Plus, I thought it was interesting.

    Care to make another hasty generalization?

  254. #254 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    The claim that he has provided no evidence of context is simply wrong, and in the face of the clear and obvious evidence to the contrary, simply stubbornly obtuse.

    You’re an idiot. The specific context.

    What evidence do you want? A tape recording? A video? What could he produce that would satisfy you? Seriously – what are you asking for?

    So you have only his word – coming late in the game (appears in none of the documents) – and that’s sufficient? Nothing else required?

    The relevance of the article is obvious, SC. If they were indeed having a debate about whether only humans have sex for pleasure, it’s entirely plausible that someone would view an article describing bat fellatio during intercourse as an argument against that proposition. A complete argument? No. Open to debate? Yes.

    Again, this claim has suddenly appeared (and doesn’t explain his showing the article to all and sundry), but a) there’s no evidence of this specific debate, and b) the study doesn’t show anything relevant to the issue of uniqueness in having sex for pleasure.

    But you’re not even willing to grant that it’s an appropriate starting point. And I think that’s unreasonable – obviously unreasonable, and an indication of bias on your part.

    The claim isn’t that it’s a starting point. If it were, it would be a totally inappropriate one in context. It’s that it’s a midway point.

  255. #255 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    Okay, so the school does have a policy that encourages staff members to solve the issue informally before filing official complaints. And the investigate report does seem to omit / mistake some key factual issues regarding the incident?

    While all these are not considered by the President in his decision letter.

  256. #256 Carlie
    May 15, 2010

    I don’t think the complaint has anything to do with the paper itself, or with communicating with other scientists about research. It’s about whether or not he engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment (intended or not) and whether the way in which he presented himself to her when he handed her the paper was part of that pattern. It’s not about the paper. It’s about the attitude. And that’s what none of us have any idea of. We don’t know if he said it with a Pythonesque wink-wink-nudge-nudge. We don’t know if he said it straight. We don’t know if she was feeling more and more harassed day after day. We don’t know if she tried to tell him and he didn’t listen, or if she never said a word, or if it never bothered her until that very moment and she snapped. But it really has nothing to do with the paper itself, or with sharing academic information.

  257. #257 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    Dylan Evans is a lecturer in behavioural science. That’s his official title. This is a paper that is about a topic relevant to his discipline.

    Are we really arguing about whether it is appropriate for a scientist to talk about material relevant to his work with another faculty member? Madness.

    No. “Behavioral science” is remarkably broad. It’s my field, too, so on that basis I could be excused for any behavior whatsoever. The discussion is about a specific action in a specific context.

  258. #258 Jadehawk, OM
    May 15, 2010

    So yes, I seriously think that the work of these great leaders ended up reversing a great majority of the harassment they were fighting against. For example it is now socially acceptable in America to ridicule and harass the bigots in the KKK and others like them.what the fuck does that have to do with workplace harassment?

    the three men you’ve mentioned had to put extreme energies into their work; fighting harrasment was pretty much their full-time job; two of them spend a long time in prison for it; two got shot for their effort.

    OTOH, the David Dukes of the world are not being imprisoned or shot. Clearly, the harassment was not equally reversed.

    And it can be done even less so when fighting harassment is not your job, but interferes with your job, instead. That’s precisely why we need structural means of making the fight easier: because not every member of a minority should have to be willing to make MLK’s sacrifices, just to not get harassed at work.

  259. #259 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    @ Hillary 249

    cousinavi 226
    “Groping on a subway train is not harassment. It is sexual ASSAULT. Conflating the two is disingenuous at best, and contemptible at worst”
    Valid point, and I appreciate the important clarification. but both actions are power trips, and I also think my deeper point about ambiguity and disempowerment still holds – they are used by both harassers and assaulters. // I don’t understand the rest of your comment. I never said he was running around harassing everyone.

    No…what you said was

    I also have a feeling that many of the people here who are defending Evans would no way, no how circulate that article to coworkers or other non-intimates in their own lives. They should examine that disconnect. Context, as others have pointed out, is everything.

    The implication appears to be that Evans was doing that – showing it to many others, including “non-intimates” (does that include or exclude professional colleagues?) in the absence of any relevant context.
    This is not the case. He showed the article to colleagues with whom he had previously had a discussion about the existence of oral sex within animal populations. There’s your context…and he certainly was not disseminating the article widely, in public or to complete strangers.

    As for your assertion that he had been “tried”, I take your concept of trial AND conviction with a few tons of salt.
    As I pointed out previously, there were no grounds for a complaint of harassment, no matter HOW the complainant felt. Harassment is repeated behaviour AFTER being asked to cease and desist. The complainant admits that she never once objected to Evans about anything he ever did or said. On that basis ALONE, no complaint should ever have been accepted, investigated, “tried” (as you loosely employ the term) or formed the subject of any conclusion or sanction.
    One might also point out that Evans was exonerated by the “investigation”, yet STILL suffered punishment at the hands of the university despite that finding…so your claims about there having been a trial seem, at best, mistaken.
    Aside from your passionate beliefs about such matters, there ARE niggling little things like threshold issues that DO dispose of such allegations. That they were utterly ignored in this case ought to cause more concern than all the yammering about what harassers do and how “victims” may or may not respond in those various hypothetical situations.

  260. #260 John Morales
    May 15, 2010

    [meta]

    Bologna @251, I find your comment indistinguishable from an effort at trolling.

  261. #261 Ken
    May 15, 2010

    Carlie #256:

    WE are talking about these issues, but the documentation by the external investigators claims that there was NO “pattern” of sexual harassment and also seems to clearly state that it was the paper that caused the “offense”.

    It has been argued that it was the interpretation of the paper as a joke that was the offense, but beyond that there is nothing in the report from the external investigators, the letters from the president, nor from the complaints to suggest that there was any wink-wink-nudge-nudge going on that day. In fact, the complainant herself describes the incident in question as “He invited me to read and comment on the subject matter of the paper.”

    She did not say he leered, winked, nor nudged her.

    You think she would have omitted something like that in the complaint?

  262. #262 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    He showed the article to colleagues with whom he had previously had a discussion about the existence of oral sex within animal populations. There’s your context…

    Even he doesn’t claim this.

  263. #263 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2iHXmHs5tNP0aY2gFd0_n6Fa5NFvsj3BltZQuDo-#44b66
    May 15, 2010

    I think there should be an extra burden of proof here. Was this relevant to both of their research interests? If not, a reasonable person would tread lightly, just as they would for someone of a different culture. There are other abrogations on academic discourse – e.g., subject confidentiality in medical and other research. So why not this one? Of course, if one thinks harassment is a trivial matter, you won’t agree.

    I can’t help thinking that you, PZ, and others here are blinded by the fact that this is harassment with a scientific veneer. Possibly even by your own (admittedly frightening) experience with a near false accusation.

    If a scientist shows the bat sex paper to an English professor with no interest in behavioral studies, is it still OK?

    If a sociologist studying porn was using the infamous Hustler cover with the woman in the meat grinder for his research and showed it to colleagues in other fields, would that be okay?

    The partial answer to both questions is “it depends.” Context is everything here, and you simply can’t ignore the history because, among other reasons, the law doesn’t. The history was clearly central to the woman’s complaint, and rightly so. She didn’t take offense just to the article – it was the last straw.

    The full answer is, “It depends, but it’s extremely risky/stupid behavior.” Dr. Evans is guilty, at the very least, of very bad judgement – not just in the acts themselves but in choosing to promote his cause on the Internet. That works best when you have been UNambiguously victimized.

    Hillary

  264. #264 Jadehawk, OM
    May 15, 2010

    Not being a woman I have no idea what the effect is compared to what it is being a man. I speculate about the effects on the opposite sex. So do you. We obviously have come to different conclusions about our speculations.

    interesting. why do you think I’m arguing from personal anecdotes?

  265. #265 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    SC OM, I?m not sure if this really helps your thinking, but you may want to check the updated document site linked by dutchdoc. It seems several of Dylan?s posts on this thread are copied verbatim from the documents.

    Carlie @ 256,
    It definitely is not just about the paper itself. But it is silly to say it has nothing to do with the paper. The content of the paper, and how it is related to the debate between various people, is highly relevant to evaluating Dylan?s actions.

    While I totally agree that we do not have all necessary information to conclusively address all the questions you mentioned, I believe with the documents presented so far, we, as commentators of an internet blog, can form some reasonable opinions regarding some of your questions, such as ?if she tried to tell him and he didn’t listen?

  266. #266 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    @ SC OM

    An idiot, eh?

    Well…since “behavioral science” is your field, I may clearly then, as an attorney with some experience in such quasi-legal proceedings, easily dismiss your boneheaded, stubborn, obtuse, myopic refusal to deal with the facts – you know, THE EVIDENCE.

    There WAS context for the sharing of the article. It was stated at the outset of this post, and reiterated in numerous comments and a variety of forms throughout. That you insistently refuse to grant that context renders everything else you say immaterial as it does not take into account the stipulated facts.

    And, since your non-existent legal education has left you quite pathetically unaware of the what the word harassment means, allow me to do you the courtesy of some free advice:
    Harassment is REPEATED behaviour SUBSEQUENT TO a demand that said behaviour stop.
    Since your “victim”, by her own admission, never once asked Dr. Evans to stop; never once advised him that sharing peer reviewed articles on animal sexual behaviour would cross her sensitive boundaries; never once advised him that his comments about gambling, Casanova, hugs, cheek kisses or friendly visits to her office made her IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM UNCOMFORTABLE, there is – BY DEFINITION – no harassment here.

    So, I’m sure by now you have a fine idea about what you can do with your ignorant, moronic, myopic, stunted, biased, twisted little shit rain name-calling crap. And THAT ain’t harassment, either…even IF you ask me to stop for offending you. THAT, my friend, is nothing more than fair comment in the face of insistent stupidity. Or, rather more pointedly, get fucked.

  267. #267 nastasie
    May 15, 2010

    @ SC

    Maybe you could consider this scenario:

    You’ve been discussing this aspect of behavioural science (regarding human exeptionalism and arguments for it, such a engaging in sexual activities purely for pleasure) with a colleague, mostly in the work environment, but perhaps also at a coffee shop after work, sometimes with other colleagues, sometimes just the two of you (my experience is that this happens frequently, but correct me if this is not your experience). The colleague then presents you the article being discussed in this post. Wouldn’t you read it? And then if you found it irrelevant, wouldn’t you tell your colleague at the next opportunity, “Look, this article is completely irrelevant to the point, and if you think it is, then you clearly don’t understand that the point is actually XYZ and not ABC.”?

    Considering that Evans was cleared of the accusations of inappropriate behaviour prior to the incident involving this article, would this not be an accurate description of the situation at hand?

  268. #268 Jadehawk, OM
    May 15, 2010

    cousinavi, I’m not under the impression that SC is challenging the findings of the external investigation, i.e. not arguing that a legal instance of harassment occurred. Rather, the discussion is about the second part of the findings, and about whether monitoring is justified based on the context surrounding the incident.

  269. #269 Hank Fox
    May 15, 2010

    Whew! Having read all the stuff here, I’m signing the petition. And I wish Evans the best of luck.

    …………………

    Irenedelse #67 and #78: Re Hank Fox “arguing for argument’s sake” and “classic inflammatory repertoire.” — Um, no. I can’t stop you thinking whatever you’re thinking, but you were off base, projecting meaning into what I said that wasn’t part of my original thoughts.

  270. #270 Ken
    May 15, 2010

    Jadehawk, OM #258

    I’m disturbed that you think we need to shoot those who we disagree with just to “equalize” past injustices. I’ve been arguing that we should resolve such problems in an open forum of ideas. I see now that you are more dangerous.

    We no longer need to make the supreme efforts those people gave to us precisely because of their efforts. They have already done the hardest work and made the sacrifices precisely to make it easier on us now.

    Is the fight over? No, of course not. But if you think that someone calling you a name at work is the same level of injustice as not being allowed to even be hired because of your race, or being shot for your sexual orientation, then you have a seriously skewed world view.

    Go ahead and believe that your fight against name calling involves the same epic hardships that were faced by MLK et al. I suggest wearing a cape and tights while doing it.

  271. #271 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    SC OM, I?m not sure if this really helps your thinking, but you may want to check the updated document site linked by dutchdoc. It seems several of Dylan?s posts on this thread are copied verbatim from the documents.

    I read it all. Your point? (Please be specific.)

    Well…since “behavioral science” is your field, I may clearly then, as an attorney with some experience in such quasi-legal proceedings, easily dismiss your boneheaded, stubborn, obtuse, myopic refusal to deal with the facts – you know, THE EVIDENCE.

    There WAS context for the sharing of the article.

    No substance. No response to my comments.

    Male sexual references directed to women should not be assumed to be innocent.

    I’ll elaborate. These comments are problematic by their nature, and made much more so by being made by people from dominant groups. Human sexual references in the workplace require a defense. If you’re making them, you should have good reason.

  272. #272 Jadehawk, OM
    May 15, 2010

    I’m disturbed that you think we need to shoot those who we disagree with just to “equalize” past injustices.

    I’ve no flaming clue where you pulled that strawman from. I’m merely pointing out that it can hardly be considered equal levels of harassment, when in one case the thread to one’s wellbeing exists, but in the other it doesn’t.

    Go ahead and believe that your fight against name calling involves the same epic hardships that were faced by MLK et al. I suggest wearing a cape and tights while doing it.

    and another fucking stupid strawman. YOU were the one who brought them into a conversation about workplace harassment, as if it were relevant, and as if a person in the workplace could turn harassment against them around because MLK etc. were able to win some of their battles.

    If you’re not even going to argue honestly anymore, just go fuck yourself.

  273. #273 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    Maybe you could consider this scenario:

    You’ve been discussing this aspect of behavioural science (regarding human exeptionalism and arguments for it, such a engaging in sexual activities purely for pleasure)* with a colleague, mostly in the work environment, but perhaps also at a coffee shop after work, sometimes with other colleagues, sometimes just the two of you (my experience is that this happens frequently, but correct me if this is not your experience).

    Maybe you could consider the scenario/evidence presented over the course (and I emphasize that) of the posts here.

    *still nothing explaining how this article about fruit bat licking would be relevant here

  274. #274 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    @ Jadehawk

    Posted by: SC OM
    He showed the article to colleagues with whom he had previously had a discussion about the existence of oral sex within animal populations. There’s your context…

    Even he doesn’t claim this.

    From the very top of the page – where PZ initiated this thread – contained in a letter written by Dr. Evans (the respondent in this shameful and disgusting little witch hunt):

    The colleague to whom I showed the article complained to HR that the article was upsetting. I had been engaged in an ongoing debate with the colleague in question about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour, and in particular about the dubiousness of many claims for human uniqueness. I showed it the colleague in the context of this discussion, and in the presence of a third person. I also showed the article to over a dozen other colleagues on the same day, none of whom objected.

    The stubborn nature of SC OM’s refusal to deal with the facts rather than strained hypothetical “what if’s” as a basis for argument is a giveaway. I would ignore it, if it weren’t for the insistent repetition of such blithering ignorance.

    Context? The context is that a baseless accusation which failed to meet the barest minimum threshold somehow made it to an investigatory stage, at which the respondent was exonerated. Despite that finding, sanctions are being applied, apparently based on an erroneous conclusion reached by incompetent methods (see failure to interview alleged witness / third party present at time of alleged offensive dissemination of bat sex paper).

    SC OM is entitled to his or her views on harassment generally, and perfectly entitled to express that ignorance in any public forum he or she most prefers. However, SC OM is NOT entitled to disregard inconvenient facts in making that argument, nor should they assume that calling people names when it is pointed out that SC OM hasn’t got the foggiest first clue what the hell he or she is talking about is the sort of thing that passes without comment.

    So it goes.

  275. #275 Jadehawk, OM
    May 15, 2010

    The stubborn nature of SC OM’s refusal to deal with the facts rather than strained hypothetical “what if’s” as a basis for argument is a giveaway.

    blah blah.

    at no point did anyone involved claim there was a multi-person conversation specifically about oral sex to which this article was specifically relevant.

    SC correctly pointed out that saying otherwise was incorrect. at best it’s clumsy usage of language, at best it’s just making shit up.
    you’re going to criticise someone, at least read what they write before you do so.

  276. #276 David Marjanovi?
    May 15, 2010

    I find this all very confusing, with the contradictory testimonials and all. The interpretation I find most likely is somewhere along the lines of comments 175 and 191, the “clueless about boundaries” thing, with Dr Evans engaging in unfettered flirting (or worse) while honestly believing he was just chatting among friends (of unspecified and irrelevant gender). If something like this is about correct, “counseling and monitoring” are absolutely necessary so he learns to figure out how he comes across, while I still don’t need to be ashamed of my signature, which I naďvely submitted before I even started to read the comments.

    * * * * *

    Wait a minute … they “don’t know why genital licking occurs.”?

    Those people need to get out of the lab once in a while.

    Read again where exactly the bats lick. Are you sensitive in those places? Really?

    And people fucking think that saying something “creepy” is a serious issue? A serious power inequality? Really?

    This kind of shit really blinds people to REAL issues of inequality in academia.

    NO. Ignoring “this kind of shit” and letting it slide is what creates the kind of environment that indicates to jerks that it is ok to practice more blatant forms of discrimination.

    Repeated for truth.

    Kissing a grad student on the forehead? Either he thinks he can openly flirt from a position of power ? or he believes the grad student is his little baby, and that’s not much better, even though both sexual and romantic interest are absent under that interpretation.

    On the one hand she seems to be complaining that I was ?manipulating? her to establish himself in a good light with her husband. Yet on the other hand she accuses Dr Evans of sexual harassment. Such a combination is surely unlikely to say the least.

    Why?

    And why do you suddenly switch to speaking of yourself in the 3rd person?

    Dylan clearly posted an email from the complainant that she sent to him after one of the alleged incidents. He is correct that that is not the sort of email (it’s friendly and social) that one sends if one thinks one has been sexually harassed by the recipient of the email. I don’t see how anyone could reasonably disagree with that.

    <pft> It could all be faked. Everyone can write something and pretend it’s an e-mail they got.

    Obviously, the same holds for the complaint, and indeed Dr Evans has said above that the complainant is not telling the truth when she writes she was alone with him in her office and when she writes he hugged her at another occasion.

    I don’t see how I could take sides about who is telling (more?) lies here, or who suffers from (more?) false memories, or whatever. See also comment 256.

    While I am at it, it’s possible the complainant didn’t speak up for very long because she thought it would be impolite, or perhaps an overreaction, or the putative harrassment would stop on its own if she merely didn’t egg Dr Evans on, and then she snapped. But this still wouldn’t get us rid of all the contradictions.

    Of course, if he is cursed with heterosexuality, a man will want to interact with women from outside his immediate family, but these women should always be vetted by his mother, and he should not touch a woman or speak to a woman until after the marriage formalities are completed.

    Come on. If nothing else, he knew full well she was married.

  277. #277 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    I am curious about the strong, certain conviction with which Hillary stated her opinion.

    She believed this is sexual harassment from the beginning, but chose to post her comments after the first set of documents are posted, because she wanted to wait after Dylan was ?tried?. But in the documents, as Dylan pointed out to me, ?sexual harassment? charge had been explicitly exonerated. Yet she continued to use the terms ?harassment?/ ?harasser? without hesitation.

    She did not point out the solid evidence that would qualify this incident as sexual harassment and Dylan as the guilty, but incredibly seemed to argue without hesitation that this very lack of concrete evidence is indicative that Dylan is guilty of sexual harassment (not even improper behavior, but sexual harassment).

    She cited the Casanova case, presumably to establish a ?pattern?, and presumably based on the words of the female faculty member, while completely ignored the words of Dylan. And when she addressed opinions of others such as PZ, she speculated about their motives behind their opinions, based on their personal life.

    It is either Hillary knows a whole lot more about this particular case then the rest of us, or I should not take her opinions seriously.

  278. #278 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    @ SC

    This grows tiresome.

    *still nothing explaining how this article about fruit bat licking would be relevant here

    In the wake of a previous discussion on the presence or absence of oral sex in animal populations, are you REALLY arguing that a peer reviewed scientific paper showing oral/genital stimulation during coitus in fruit bats IS IRRELEVANT?

    Does the depth and breadth of your stubborn, insistent stupidity fail to strike you, or are you simply having some trollish fun?
    Clearly, in addition to not comprehending the term harassment, you might want to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the concept of relevance…or you could just STFU.

  279. #279 Jadehawk, OM
    May 15, 2010

    at best it’s clumsy usage of language, at best worst it’s just making shit up.

    I’m going out for coffee and sugar. This conversation is fucking stupid: too many people are not even bothering to deal with statements as made, and are making weird meta-arguments to imagined meta-claims.

  280. #280 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    @ Jadehawk

    Have a double. It might prevent from you saying clever things like “meta-arguments” and “meta-claims”.

  281. #281 Cath the Canberra Cook
    May 15, 2010

    No, PZ, we are not arguing about whether it is appropriate for a scientist to talk about material relevant to his work with another faculty member.

    We are arguing about whether there might not have been more to the case than the one journal article. Lodging a harassment complaint is a big step to take, and does prompt one to enquire if that’s the whole story. Is she crazy, is she up to some devious scheme, or is he a liar?

    I’m usually inclined to believe the woman in these cases. Odds are the complainant isn’t lying. Yes, people do make false complaints. But the stats on criminal allegations say the rate is about 2%, and for rape even lower.

    But I’ve eventually come down mostly on Evans’ side after reading more about it. The main point for me is the lack of notification. Everywhere I’ve worked in recent years (since sexual harassment stopped being normal and accepted and can’t you take a joke honey, it’s really a compliment) has had a clear policy about it.

    Tell the person that their behaviour is unwanted; complain to your supervisor; keep a diary of events. If you feel too afraid to tell the perpetrator to stop, then see your local contact officer. We have 3 such designated contacts in my workplace of 300 people; I’m sure a university has some.

  282. #282 Jadehawk, OM
    May 15, 2010

    fuck off. show me where evans specifically claimed there was an argument specifically involving more than two persons, specifically about oral sex in animals. if you can’t you’re having a meta-argument, not an argument about what is actually being said.

  283. #283 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    In the wake of a previous discussion on the presence or absence of oral sex in animal populations,

    What previous discussion – among the parties involved? Provide specific evidence.

  284. #284 Ken
    May 15, 2010

    Jadehawk, OM #272:

    I never suggested that all harassment is, or should be equal. I said that harassment could be turned back against bigots, just as great leaders have done in the past. You said that was impossible.

    I don’t recall where MLK et al talked about how their fight didn’t apply to the workplace. As far as I can tell they were fighting against oppression both in and out of the workplace. I don’t see how anyone would believe that the work, sacrifices and struggle of these leaders can’t apply to workplace harassment.

    Unless, of course, JadeHawkman wants to make his personal struggle seem more heroic by downplaying the achievements of previous heroes.

    And, since I don’t have a date tonight, I may indeed masturbate later, but that won’t be because I think I’m no longer arguing honestly.

  285. #285 nastasie
    May 15, 2010

    SC @273

    I have, and I can see that the comments here are debating whether or not the evidence presented makes the case for Evans or for his colleague. I also read the documents linked here, and to my mind the evidence is clearly in favour of Evans’ account. But still, only *assuming* that the investigators were correct in clearing Evans of previous accusations, wouldn’t the incident involving the article in question be similar to the scenario I described?

    *I don’t understand your objection. Don’t you think that, at least at first glance, the article *might* be relevant to a discussion of human vs. non-human animal behaviour?

  286. #286 Sven DiMilo
    May 15, 2010

    Evans is a psychologist/philosopher. He doesn’t study animal behavior. The particular coital habits of Chinese fruit-bats were nevertheless interesting enough to him that he showed the article about these habits to over a dozen colleagues in one day–colleagues on the faculty of the School of Medicine and Health, not themselves engaged in comparative sexual-behavior research.
    How is this about “academic freedom”?

    It’s about a guy who got perhaps too big a kick out of the fruit-bat-fellatio thing.

  287. #287 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    @ Cath

    …the stats on criminal allegations say the rate is about 2%, and for rape even lower.

    Aside from the problems in assessing those stats – for example, the wrongfully convicted but not yet exonerated are not counted; acquitted accused are not counted as false allegations – the fact remains that those stats have already been debunked by far better analysis. See, in particular, work done by The Innocence Project.
    This is similar to studies that purport to demonstrate that half of all female college students are victims of sexual assault. Then one finds that, for the purposes of the study, wolf whistles and inappropriate comments are defined as assault.
    I am not trying to diminish the problem. I am merely pointing out that statistical claims about the prevalence of assault and harassment, and/or false allegations thereof, are inherently flawed and commonly generated for political purposes.

  288. #288 Mattir
    May 15, 2010

    Having read all the documents and the thread, I still think that we don’t know what actually happened and that this thread is turning into some sort of weird parlor comedies written by David Mamet. On balance, I tend to think the administration acted inappropriately in not interviewing the person present in the office, not providing an appeals process, and requiring intensive monitoring over a single incident.

    On the other hand, Dr. Evans has given sufficient information in his postings for anyone with decent google-fu to identify his accuser and make her life miserable (female, temporary faculty in his department at his university, originally from a Latin country, married to someone in his university’s administration, both now at another university in another country). I question whether launching an online campaign was really the most sensible or effective way to respond to the situation – Dr. Evans has generated a huge amount of attention that may damage both his own reputation and that of his accuser. If I were his current or a prospective future employer, I’d be very cautious about further dealings.

    Or, as the Bible says, “they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7). (I’ve always wondered if I’d ever have a chance to say that, but it seems made for interactions on the internet.)

  289. #289 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    SC @273

    I have, and I can see that the comments here are debating whether or not the evidence presented makes the case for Evans or for his colleague. I also read the documents linked here, and to my mind the evidence is clearly in favour of Evans’ account.

    How so, specifically?

    But still, only *assuming* that the investigators were correct in clearing Evans of previous accusations,

    ?

    wouldn’t the incident involving the article in question be similar to the scenario I described?

    The incident is what actually happened – not your imaginary scenario.

    *I don’t understand your objection. Don’t you think that, at least at first glance, the article *might* be relevant to a discussion of human vs. non-human animal behaviour?

    Ridiculously broad. Evidence for how it was presented in specific context needed.

    ***

    It’s about a guy who got perhaps too big a kick out of the fruit-bat-fellatio thing.

    Appears to be.

  290. #290 broboxley OT
    May 15, 2010

    @PZ #250 sure, talk about it within the circle of behavioral folk, not to the engineering or IT departments.

  291. #291 melior
    May 15, 2010

    As a high school student in the 1980s, I triggered no small amount of uncomfortableness among the instructors when I selected for review Stephen Jay Gould’s discovery that among spotted hyenas, females and males have evolved to nearly identical externally visible phenotypes; e.g. labia only distinguishable from scrota by “manual palpitation”. Perhaps predictably, hilarity ensued.

  292. #292 David Marjanovi?
    May 15, 2010

    JadeHawkman [...] his

    Ehem.

    You’re new here. :-)

  293. #293 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    Jumped up Jesus on skis…how many times does it take?

    Here’s the story straight from the target.

    Dear Colleagues,

    The President of University College Cork, Professor Michael Murphy, has imposed harsh sanctions on me for doing nothing more than showing an article from a peer-reviewed scientific article to a colleague.

    The article was about fellatio in fruit bats. You can read it online at http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0007595

    It was covered extensively in the media, including the Guardian – see http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/nov/10/oral-sex-bats-improbable-research

    The colleague to whom I showed the article complained to HR that the article was upsetting. I had been engaged in an ongoing debate with the colleague in question about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour, and in particular about the dubiousness of many claims for human uniqueness. I showed it the colleague in the context of this discussion, and in the presence of a third person. I also showed the article to over a dozen other colleagues on the same day, none of whom objected.

    But no…that won’t do, will it. Not for you.
    Unless they had SPECIFICALLY discussed ORAL SEX
    in the SPECIFIC context of human uniqueness, this article must be deemed irrelevant. And if there were stated evidence that they had such a discussion, you’d flip back onto “How does bat behaviour relate to human behaviour?”…and, if there were evidence that they had specifically debated bat versus human oral sex practices…what then?
    Your desperate, insistent desire to label this exchange – an exchange to which the complaint never objected, much less to anything previously; an exchange which, according to the information YOU have took place in the presence of the third party…
    Aw..fuck it. You had your blitheringly ignorant mind made up when you started your little charade. It might get you somewhere around the behavioural sciences labs, but…and you may trust me on this…it won’t last ten seconds in any court where evidence and REASONED argument matter.
    You stick to fruit bat blowjobs. I’ll stick to the law. And on this point, the evidence is clear: There was no harassment, the allegation should never have been made, and the sanctions are improper.

  294. #294 Bologna Pogna
    May 15, 2010

    @ Marjanovic, post #276

    Come on. If nothing else, he knew full well she was married.

    Of course he did. You’ve misread my post. I was saying that there are, sadly, some unfortunates who are handicapped with a congenital predilection for those of the opposite sex, and that some concession has to be made to enable these sad cases to act upon their proclivities – however dangerous, depraved and ill-advised these proclivities may appear to normally-constituted persons.

    However, as you point out, this woman has already formed a pair-bond with another man. Evans, therefore, had absolutely no reason to be interacting with her in any way that went beyond the bare minimum of intercourse imposed on him by the fact of their being co-workers. And anyway, even if this woman had been available for marriage, it would have been unwise to approach her directly, rather than by proxy, through his mother or another trustworthy female relative (e.g., grandmother, aunt, especially trustworthy older sister).

    It is totally mystifying to me why Evans chose to place his head in this lioness’s mouth so blithely, and with so little thought for the possible – indeed, almost inevitable – consequences. It is ALWAYS dangerous for a man to speak to a woman, to enter a woman’s home or office, to look at a woman, or to come close to a woman. Had Evans been wiser, he would have limited his interactions with this woman – and all women outside his family – to the bare minimum. Instead, like many fond fools before him, he gambled with his career and livelihood by trying to strike up a ‘friendship’ with a creature as dangerous to him as a scorpion or a cobra – a creature that is prone to, as the commenter named Carlie has pointed out, ‘snap’ without warning, and at the slightest provocation. He is now paying the price, and, as I’ve said, gets no sympathy from me.

  295. #295 melior
    May 15, 2010
  296. #296 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    Can we somehow put bologna in the dungeon, please?

  297. #297 wanderinweeta
    May 15, 2010

    I just finished watching my Japanese nassas (Nassarius fraterculus) (interesting species name there; “brother anus”) snails having an extremely enthusiastic threesome. They split up, then came together in alternate pairs, then went back to the triple pile-on again.

    I guess I shouldn’t be talking about it.

    Come to think of it, I probably shouldn’t even be watching such nastiness.

    At least I didn’t take any photos. This time.

  298. #298 Bologna Pogna
    May 15, 2010

    superheadcat, can you deny that if Evans had followed the protocols I suggest, he would not now be in the unfortunate position in which he finds himself? Why attempt to handle safely a volatile compound, when you have the option of not handling it at all?

  299. #299 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    Evans makes claims, I ask questions…

    Then

    In the wake of a previous discussion on the presence or absence of oral sex in animal populations,

    I ask for evidence. None is forthcoming.

    But no…that won’t do, will it. Not for you.
    Unless they had SPECIFICALLY discussed ORAL SEX

    Clown.

  300. #300 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    Cheap editing. Your stock in trade appears to be ignoring context.

    My advice stands: Stick to fruit bat blowjobs.

    Ignoramus.

  301. #301 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    SC OM, I guess that is a blow to cousinavi?s credibility. But how is that related to Dr. Evan?s case?

  302. #302 Sven DiMilo
    May 15, 2010

    It’s a common misconception that all behavioral-sciences laboratories specialize in watching fruit-bats boink. And taking notes. It’s not true. The number of behavioral-sciences laboratories engaged in comparative sexual-technique research in any taxa other than primates and rats and mice and, of course, ducks has dwindled in recent years, and the number of labs willing to take on the challenge of fruit-bat voyeurism for uncertain reward is fewer still. For every lucky observation of fellatio that gets you published in PLOS One (well, and plus the money you have to pay), there are months and even years of coy getting-to-know-you bullshit to deal with with the damn fruit-bats. Plus the IACUCs are coming down harder on bat-sex studies anyway. Who needs it?

  303. #303 Ken
    May 15, 2010

    Bologna Pogna #298

    Why attempt to handle safely a volatile compound, when you have the option of not handling it at all?

    Because the more volatile the compound, the bigger the bang!

    Unless I misunderstood and you were actually alluding to women…

  304. #304 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    And if there were stated evidence that they had such a discussion, you’d flip back onto “How does bat behaviour relate to human behaviour?”…and, if there were evidence that they had specifically debated bat versus human oral sex practices…what then?

    I’ve asked Evans specific questions. If there were convincing evidence of the latter, it would be a very different scenario. Obviously. That’s why I’m asking.

  305. #305 nescientist
    May 15, 2010

    @SC OM
    I think it’s pretty healthy, in these cases, to begin with a strong prejudice in favor of the woman complaining – if only to counterbalance society’s tendency to do the opposite. This is particularly reasonable, as in this case, when the institution in question has found fault with the accused man. But I’m wondering if you’ve properly considered just now narrow the finding of fault is, in comparison to the initial accusation, because your commentary here seems to indicate otherwise.

    Since you’ve examined the final report, is it fair to presume that you believe it was inappropriate for Evans to show the paper to the other eleven people with whom he shared it? Because the university’s finding – to which you affirm your unwavering support – does not confirm the presence of an actionable pattern of harassment against the complainant. The only wrongdoing which Evans is being held liable for is his alleged joking delivery of this paper to the complainant (while she was “alone,” to boot) which he of course disputes.

    I would be willing to bet my left testicle (whoops, I made a sexual reference in your presence; good thing we aren’t coworkers, or I would only keep my job at your sufferance) that in hundreds of offices across the planet readers of Pharyngula saw this article posted and made entirely inappropriate jokes to their coworkers in the process of distributing it. A few posters have already spoken up about their efforts to distribute the article around their workplace. Given your standards, it is a travesty of justice that none of them shall be held to account for this.

  306. #306 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    cousinavi,

    What is your defense of Evan’s popping into his female colleague’s office (ignoring for the moment his broader trumpeting) with a demand for a response to this? Be very specific.

    ***

    and, of course, ducks

    Sluts.

  307. #307 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    @ SC

    Posted by: evansd66#3f76d

    No, I certainly did not make any joke, either about sex or anything else. I simply said that citing the human practice of oral sex would be an unusual way to make an argument for human exceptionalism, but that there is now evidence to combat even that.

    Dylan Evans
    http://www.dylan.org.uk

    Care to try again? Oh, wait…I forgot…the evidence of Dr. Evans fails to register for you.

    You’re a lying, quote mining, EDITING for context that suits you piece of shit.
    Seriously. Get fucked.

  308. #308 jemand
    May 15, 2010

    come to think of it though… claiming that the article was delivered with initially a preface of “oral sex would be a strange claim of human exceptionalism” and then much later in the discussion stating that the complainant had brought up the issue of sex for pleasure herself…

    Sort of seems rather inconsistent.

  309. #309 broboxley OT
    May 15, 2010

    @cousinavi, sic the pikey on SC

  310. #310 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    @SC OM
    I think it’s pretty healthy, in these cases, to begin with a strong prejudice in favor of the woman complaining – if only to counterbalance society’s tendency to do the opposite.

    Not what I’ve argued.

    This is particularly reasonable, as in this case, when the institution in question has found fault with the accused man. But I’m wondering if you’ve properly considered just now narrow the finding of fault is, in comparison to the initial accusation, because your commentary here seems to indicate otherwise.

    ?

    Since you’ve examined the final report, is it fair to presume that you believe it was inappropriate for Evans to show the paper to the other eleven people with whom he shared it?

    More than eleven. I’ve questioned why he did that.

    university’s finding – to which you affirm your unwavering support -

    WTF?

    firm the presence of an actionable pattern of harassment against the complainant.

    Huh? Have you read my posts?

    ngdoing which Evans is being held liable for is his alleged joking delivery of this paper to the complainant (while she was “alone,” to boot) which he of course disputes.

    This incident, in context, is what’s being discussed.

    illing to bet my left testicle (whoops, I made a sexual reference in your presence; good thing we aren’t coworkers, or I would only keep my job at your sufferance) that in hundreds of offices across the planet readers of Pharyngula saw this article posted and made entirely inappropriate jokes to their coworkers in the process of distributing it.

    Inappropriate is inappropriate. Telling.

    s have already spoken up about their efforts to distribute the article around their workplace. Given your standards, it is a travesty of justice that none of them shall be held to account for this.

    ?

    [Strange cutoffs of the beginning of quotes.]

  311. #311 Sven DiMilo
    May 15, 2010

    I understand that the Journal of Behavioral Sciences Laboratory Studies is planning an all-megachiropteran issue to capitalize on all this publicity.

  312. #312 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    And, to put my previous post in context, there had been (according to Dr. Evans…despite your refusal to acknowledge his evidence) and ongoing debate about the importance of evolutionary biology – which, being a lawyer and NOT a biologist, I may only ASSUME involves sex and mating habits in some degree – in the CONTEXT (feel free to look that word up) of human exceptionalism or uniqueness.

    No, I don’t have transcripts of each and every utterance exchanged between the two parties, or with anyone else.
    Neither do you.
    Nevertheless, it would seem on its face, that a peer reviewed scientific article demonstrating animal sexual behaviour that might be considered uniquely human, would at least in some remote way, be connected to such a discussion.
    Your insistence that there must have been some prurient motive on the part of Evans is, frankly, shameful and demonstrates the same pathetic sort of bias that apparently led one of the “investigators” to label the article “smutty”.
    Your repetitive claims that there was no basis for him to share this article – no context whatsoever – is simply false.
    Your stubborn ignorance of the LAW, especially in the Commonwealth, regarding claims of harassment renders your judgment on the propriety of the process and the sanctions imposed utterly without foundation.
    Your childish name calling in the face of evidence which contradicts your position clearly and unequivocally demonstrates your character, and your hackish editing of my comments to attack my credibility without any foundation whatsoever renders you moot.

    Now, there MUST be some mammal up to something lickish, wet and disgusting you need to object to somewhere.
    Don’t let me detain you any longer.

  313. #313 Carlie
    May 15, 2010

    Going to the internet to garner numbers of support does seem like a really weird way to deal with a sexual harassment issue. “Campaigning to have the sanctions lifted”? Wouldn’t talking to the people directly involved and trying to persuade them have a better chance of being successful at that? Or hiring a lawyer to help out? How could making it public and saying “Here are a few hundred random people from the internet I’ve persuaded to agree with me based on what I’ve told them” do anything to achieve his stated goal of lifting “sanctions”? I kind of think that if said sanctions amount basically to “get some social skills training, because you seem to be a bit inept in that area”, then coming back with “I made an internet petition about it” doesn’t really help one’s case that one does not need said social skills training. Especially given that, as Mattir said, he’s all but entirely outed her by now.

  314. #314 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    Care to try again?

    I asked him about this specifically. His use of the conditional here doesn’t work on his behalf. If you want to asnswer my questions, feel free.

  315. #315 superheadcat
    May 15, 2010

    Carlie,

    Who knows? Maybe Dylan is acting under instruction of the lawyer. He had sent letters to the President, had IFUT (a teachers union?) to advocate on his behalf, and maybe he had a lawsuit down the road if things do get to that point.

    Maybe this Internet petition thing is just one puzzle of his overall efforts to clear his name?

  316. #316 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    the Journal of Behavioral Sciences

    Aha. :P

    there had been (according to Dr. Evans…despite your refusal to acknowledge his evidence) and ongoing debate about the importance of evolutionary biology – which, being a lawyer and NOT a biologist, I may only ASSUME involves sex and mating habits in some degree – in the CONTEXT (feel free to look that word up) of human exceptionalism or uniqueness.

    No, I don’t have transcripts of each and every utterance exchanged between the two parties, or with anyone else.

    Nor will you address anything substantive. No evidence. So STFU, assclam.

  317. #317 nescientist
    May 15, 2010

    Inappropriate is inappropriate, and I chose that word very carefully. The reason for my choice was by example, to show that in the vast majority of cases jokingly distributing this article in the workplace (while genuinely inappropriate, indicative of privilege, etc.) is not actionable in the vast majority of cases, including virtually all of those cases which PZ inadvertently created by posting the article to his high-traffic website.

    The difference, you insist, is the context of this event. But with the university’s failure to find harassment in the months leading up to the bat-sex fiasco, the strength of this context is weakened. I do not believe that an accusation of harassment based solely on this incident would have passed muster, and Evans’ liability for other behavior was not confirmed by the official investigation.

  318. #318 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    Refusal to acknowledge that your question has been answered, ought not have been asked in the first place IF you had bothered to READ, and stubbornly insisting on repeating the same imbecilic query again and again only increases the contempt in which you are already held.

    Perhaps I shouldn’t have asked if you care to try again. Clearly you will, no matter what evidence is presented.
    While there’s something to be said for persistence, there’s a fine line between keeping at it and beating your head against the wall.
    The difference between you and I is that while I recognize that boundary and will no longer waste my time trying to counter your obtuse bullshit with facts, evidence and reason, you will go on insisting that Evans (and everyone else) has failed to address the issues you degrade with embarrassing semantic gamesmanship.

    The conditional, eh? I got your conditional right here:
    IF you had the brains got gave fruit bats, you would have shut the fuck up a long time ago.

    Res ipsa loquitur, asshole.

  319. #319 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    I do not believe that an accusation of harassment based solely on this incident would have passed muster,

    Was his action in this context justified or not? Was it inappropriate? Fine with you? How so or how not?

  320. #320 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    @ #317 and #318:

    There’s a distinct lack of substance in your posts.

  321. #321 nescientist
    May 15, 2010

    I think it’s inappropriate. And I think it’s insane to have a policy which would hand out a two-year probation for it. A mandated mediation – you know, like Dr. Evans suggested – would be more than sufficient. I think it demeans the genuine and pervasive workplace inequity which exists to introduce heavy-handed institutional responses to fairly normal interpersonal failures.

  322. #322 nastasie
    May 15, 2010

    @ SC

    Okay, my bad. I was under the impression that she had admitted to having had this discussion with Evans prior to the article incident. I reread the documents and couldn’t find anything stating that she had admitted this. It seems we only have Evans’ word on it, and you’re requesting hard evidence, if I understand correctly.

    As for your question mark, I guess my phrasing wasn’t very clear (it’s late and my English tends to get jumbled when I’m tired). What I meant was that if you assumed the investigators were right and there had been no previous misconduct on Evans’ part, and that the two of them had been debating the topic, then the situation would be analogous to the one I described. But now I guess you can argue that that’s a lot of assuming, so ok.

    As for the evidence being in favour of Evans, the investigators themselves cited emails that raised serious doubts about the complainant’s claims. And in her formal complaint, she either misrepresented or misunderstood the mentions of gambling and Casanova (and this could have been cleared up had she not refused a mediated meeting).

  323. #323 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    And I think it’s insane to have a policy which would hand out a two-year probation for it.

    Counseling and monitoring are insane in this case? How so?

    A mandated mediation – you know, like Dr. Evans suggested – would be more than sufficient.

    How so, specifically?

  324. #324 Cath the Canberra Cook
    May 15, 2010

    Cousinavi,
    My stats are from a long ago criminology class, not specifically feminist, and it’s possible they have been superseded. It’s certainly hard to measure.

    But the Innocence Project does not in any way speak to that. It is not at all about false complaints – it is about the entirely different question of false convictions. A person being wrongfully convicted of murder or rape in no way demonstrates that the rape or murder did not happen at all. There was DNA there to be tested, after all! Almost all of the project’s rape exonerations were due to eyewitness misidentifications, not “she made it all up”.

    Your remarks on sexual assault come across as either callous or ignorant. The routine harassment of women student by whistles, catcalls, yelled sexual suggestions and so on is just that, sexual harassment. I’d be very amazed if the reported prevalence of that was any less than 95%. Physical sexual assault? Well, I’ve had a very lucky and sheltered life and have only been physically sexually assaulted a few times. Three times before senior high school, and I stopped counting after that because it was too common. But luckily I had nothing worse than random unsolicited grabbing.

    In order for me NOT to give the woman the benefit of the doubt at a first look, you’d have to claim that the false report rate was remarkably high. You have a choice between two parties lying. Which one is more likely to be the liar? Taking a standard Bayesian approach, the odds are pretty good that it’s the man. Of course it’s a probability, not a certainty, and additional evidence can (and did) change my estimate.

  325. #325 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    “Can I get a witness?” – Marvin Gaye

    Posted by SC
    Nor will you address anything substantive. No evidence.

    See previous posts #199, #213, #245, #278, #293, and #307 for arguments specifically referencing or quoting directly from the testimony and evidence in the matter at hand.

    Admittedly, #199 was fictitious comedy, but it was funny and I take this opportunity to draw fresh attention to it.
    The rest either directly quote or specifically reference the evidence in Evans’ written exchanges with the university, the investigation itself, the responses thereto, or comments from Evans IN THIS THREAD, including but not limited to the letter initially posted by PZ.

    #307 amounts to clear evidence that any assertion that I refuse to deal with the evidence, or that my position lacks substance, is simply obtuse, myopic horseshit presented by a hack editing, quote mining, distorting, no context, lying piece of shit whose sole argument seems to be repeating, “That doesn’t answer my question” linked with a stubborn refusal to acknowledge either facts, context or specific responses.

    And now, some more Marvin Gaye:
    “Cuz when I get that feelin’, I need fruit bat healin’….”

    Recorded on the RES IPSA label.

  326. #326 nescientist
    May 15, 2010

    SC, thank you for suffering through my long-winded yet insubstantial posts. I am humbled before the masterful concision with which you can respond in whole to this:

    I think it’s pretty healthy, in these cases, to begin with a strong prejudice in favor of the woman complaining – if only to counterbalance society’s tendency to do the opposite. This is particularly reasonable, as in this case, when the institution in question has found fault with the accused man. But I’m wondering if you’ve properly considered just now narrow the finding of fault is, in comparison to the initial accusation, because your commentary here seems to indicate otherwise.
    Since you’ve examined the final report, is it fair to presume that you believe it was inappropriate for Evans to show the paper to the other eleven people with whom he shared it? Because the university’s finding – to which you affirm your unwavering support – does not confirm the presence of an actionable pattern of harassment against the complainant. The only wrongdoing which Evans is being held liable for is his alleged joking delivery of this paper to the complainant (while she was “alone,” to boot) which he of course disputes.
    I would be willing to bet my left testicle (whoops, I made a sexual reference in your presence; good thing we aren’t coworkers, or I would only keep my job at your sufferance) that in hundreds of offices across the planet readers of Pharyngula saw this article posted and made entirely inappropriate jokes to their coworkers in the process of distributing it. A few posters have already spoken up about their efforts to distribute the article around their workplace. Given your standards, it is a travesty of justice that none of them shall be held to account for this.

    With this:

    Not what I’ve argued. / ? / More than eleven. I’ve questioned why he did that. / WTF? / Huh? Have you read my posts? / This incident, in context, is what’s being discussed. /Inappropriate is inappropriate. Telling.

  327. #327 nastasie
    May 15, 2010

    @ SC

    I forgot to mention that I came up with that scenario because it seemed to me that your objection was that the article was outright irrelevant to a discussion of human sexual behaviour.

  328. #328 mirrorbird
    May 15, 2010

    Am I the only one here who wants to get into a nitpicky discussion about whether fellatio, bat-style, would be halachically permissible, seeing as how the male penetrates the female while being fellated and presumably does not waste any seed? Pretty sure they never covered this in the tosafos.

  329. #329 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    As for the evidence being in favour of Evans, the investigators themselves cited emails that raised serious doubts about the complainant’s claims.

    The scope of these “serious doubts” is vague.

    And in her formal complaint, she either misrepresented or misunderstood the mentions of gambling and Casanova

    Where are you getting this? More importantly, what does it have to do with the other matter?

    (and this could have been cleared up had she not refused a mediated meeting).

    Possibly.

  330. #330 Moose
    May 15, 2010

    I signed it-and left this comment:

    Having worked in Research myself (Argonne National Laboratories in the US) I can state that I’ve seen this pattern before. Simply, someone using the system for personal (monetary?) gain by making baseless accusations against a Co-worker involving that thing called SEX. In this case-not even sex directly-but of another species? In a peer-reviewed journal?

    Sadly, these incidents usually follow the pattern indicated in this case; a female worker accuses a male Co-worker of badly-defined “impropriety”, and demanding sanction. Even if exonerated, the accused?s career is damaged as a result.

    And the accuser? They get to paint themselves as a victim despite the total lack of evidence of victimisation. If they win-they advance. If they loose-they still get to claim the moral high ground, and will be treated with undeserved ?respect? in the future. What they actually get is a free pass to advance based upon fear.

    I can only suggest a trial of BOTH the victim and the accused-with the sanction that the loser be dismissed.

    This is sad. I thought that within the halls of academia I’d see behaviour more appropriate to those of learning-not the “he said-she said” whining more typical of Judge Judy.

    Do the right thing; fully and aggressively investigate the claims. If true-sanction the accused. If false-sanction the accuser equally.

    Sums it up nicely.

  331. #331 nastasie
    May 15, 2010

    @ SC

    I’m getting this from the statements she made in her formal complaints and from the links Evans provided to his actual research on risk-taking and gambling. It has to do with your request for clarification as to why I thought the evidence was on Evans’ side.

    I’ve lost track of “the other matter” at this point. Sorry for engaging you at such a late hour, when I should be asleep.

    Yes, possibly. That’s what I said. I’m guessing “could” indicates possibility.

  332. #332 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    @ SC

    I forgot to mention that I came up with that scenario because it seemed to me that your objection was that the article was outright irrelevant to a discussion of human sexual behaviour.

    What?

    See previous posts #199, #213, #245, #278, #293, and #307 for arguments specifically referencing or quoting directly from the testimony and evidence in the matter at hand.

    Admittedly, #199 was fictitious comedy,

    You’re a fucking fictitious comedy.

    but it was funny

    No.

    and I take this opportunity to draw fresh attention to it.
    The rest either directly quote or specifically reference the evidence in Evans’ written exchanges with the university, the investigation itself, the responses thereto, or comments from Evans IN THIS THREAD, including but not limited to the letter initially posted by PZ.

    #307 amounts to clear evidence that any assertion that I refuse to deal with the evidence, or that my position lacks substance, is simply obtuse, myopic horseshit presented by a hack editing, quote mining, distorting, no context, lying piece of shit whose sole argument seems to be repeating, “That doesn’t answer my question” linked with a stubborn refusal to acknowledge either facts, context or specific responses.

    I encourage reasonable people to read the thread.

    SC, thank you for suffering through my long-winded yet insubstantial posts. I am humbled before the masterful concision with which you can respond in whole to this:

    ?

    Look, I’m trying to have a conversation with Dylan Evans. I think he’s being kind of willfully obtuse and boorish. And clueless, in this context. That’s it.

  333. #333 cousinavi
    May 15, 2010

    @ Cath

    As I said, I am in no way attempting to diminish the issue.

    The innocence project most commonly deals with cases in which there is DNA available for post-conviction testing. This is not an absolute requirement, but given the barriers to the admission of fresh evidence from state to state (and the fact the everyone CLAIMS to be innocent), limited resources are focused on those where such evidence is available.
    However, the Innocence Project has provided a wealth of hard data to various studies conducted in narrow perspectives (in cases, for example, where a particular state’s crime lab’s practices have been called into question) as well as broader contexts (such as the effect in jury trials of the presentation of DNA evidence where such evidence is presented by “experts” to untrained jurors, and the weight then given that evidence). Without necessarily reaching hard conclusions about what percentage of allegations are false OR what percentage of convictions are wrongful, the results remain startling. There are simply more false allegations, and more wrongful convictions than anyone might expect. These are facts that cannot be escaped.
    In fact, it is not the cases where DNA evidence is available for testing that are cause for concern, but those where it is not. Those errors can never be fixed.

    You are quite correct – most wrongful convictions stem from bad identification, especially cross-cultural identification, by the complainant. Nevertheless, there are also cases, and some conducted by the Innocence Project, which reversed what were demonstrated to be utterly false complaints. Rare – not non-existent. It takes rather stunning degrees of evidence to get Barry Scheck involved in a non-DNA appeal.
    Truly false complaints are further difficult to count simply because they may not result in charges…for either the accused or the complainant.
    The numbers are further distorted because, as you point out, clearing one man by virtue of DNA may simply indicate that a criminal remains unidentified and at large.

    The fact that sexual assault and harassment are far too common in our society, and that many (perhaps most) women suffer some form of harassment in their lifetime are true and lamentable facts.
    However, when one takes those statistics and transposes them to individual cases – as in saying, “Well, THIS man is probably guilty because most allegations are true,” you not only shift the burden of proof in criminal trials – a fact of practice that is already difficult enough – but you eliminate it completely in civil matters where the burden is “on the balance of probabilities.”
    In effect, any woman who sues for harassment has already won her case. It’s more likely that she’s telling the truth = Judgment for the plaintiff.

    Please accept that I do not mean to sound callous. I am most certainly not. I AM concerned with just the sort of rush to judgment and reasoning – often based on poorly gathered statistics – that ruins lives and careers, whatever happens to Dr. Evans.

  334. #334 SC OM
    May 15, 2010

    So the Innocence Project has fuck-all to do with this case.

  335. #335 broboxley OT
    May 15, 2010

    @mirrorbird #328 are you insisting that the penetrated female preform the fellatio or are 3rd parties allowed to participate.

  336. #336 nescientist
    May 16, 2010

    Like, the earth is going to complete its orbit of the sun twice before Evans is through being reminded of this event every time he censors himself for safety’s sake in the presence of a woman at the university. Doubtless this will be an opportunity for much-needed personal growth. I agree with SC that he should have admitted some culpability in violating his colleague’s boundaries even though he may have been unaware they existed. I even find it a little odd that he

    But this lesson could have been taught without creating an adversarial, punitive relationship between Evans and the President or HR department – and by extension, between Evans (and men like him who read this story) and the notion that women ought to enjoy special workplace protections. I believe strongly in this notion, and take issue with draconian edicts like this one that are tar by association the hard-fought battle to maintain just counter-patriarchal policies in the face of the backwards, evil-minded atavistic assholes trying to tear them down.

  337. #337 Jeri
    May 16, 2010

    So, does this mean that these Fruit Bats are Teabaggers by the following deffinition?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_bag_(sexual_act)

  338. #338 cousinavi
    May 16, 2010

    @ SC

    It’s not all about YOU and the argument YOU want to have ALL THE TIME.

    Myopic, stubborn, semantic games may amuse you all day, but just once in awhile, some people direct comments directly to others without your fucking written permission.

    Got it, fuckwit?

    Now, go on back to insisting that no one ever answers your questions, refers to evidence, or might possibly manage to understand the depth and breadth of your ankle-deep insights and unreasonable demands.

  339. #339 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    I agree with SC that he should have admitted some culpability in violating his colleague’s boundaries even though he may have been unaware they existed.

    ?

    I even find it a little odd that he

    The suspense is killing me. :)

    But this lesson could have been taught without creating an adversarial, punitive relationship between Evans and the President or HR department -

    Possibly. We don’t know the specifics. And counseling and monitoring aren’t necessarily punitive.

    and by extension, between Evans (and men like him who read this story) and the notion that women ought to enjoy special workplace protections.

    WTF?

    I believe strongly in this notion, and take issue with draconian edicts like this one that are tar by association the hard-fought battle to maintain just counter-patriarchal policies in the face of the backwards, evil-minded atavistic assholes trying to tear them down.

    This is blather.

  340. #340 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    @ SC

    It’s not all about YOU

    YES it IS. ME ME ME ME ME ME ME.

    [I'm sure everyone's now distracted from the issue at hand.]

  341. #341 Rob
    May 16, 2010

    @SC OM #339

    I would refer you to this quote from Dr. Evans’ final letter:

    “I have no objections to submitting to the training and counseling mandated by you, nor to undergoing a period of monitoring and appraisal, particularly if this helps me to avoid inadvertently upsetting unduly sensitive colleagues in future. However, I cannot permit you to sully my pristine record with the false contention that I have committed sexual harassment.”

    I think the point that many of us are making is that the University should be careful in handing out career-damaging punishments over what may very well be a misunderstanding. It’s also troubling that mediation was never attempted. Maybe it could have helped, maybe not, but shouldn’t it be tried before harsher punishments?

    As an aside, I have to admit his use of the phrase “unduly sensitive” here is not helping his case.

  342. #342 mirrorbird
    May 16, 2010

    @broboxley In order to accurately recreate the pteropine scenario, I have to envision a man, a woman, and some serious acrobatics. Third parties are not canon.

    Jeri: This is not teabaggery. Not only is the bats’ sexual custom decidedly penetrative, but there is no manipulation of the male’s scrotum, which would kind of be the point.

    Then again, no mention has been made of the bats’ political affiliation so it’s possible the label might still apply.

  343. #343 nescientist
    May 16, 2010

    Dzah, sorry about that little dangler at the end of the first paragraph in 336 there. I was going to say that I found it odd he mentioned only the external investigators’ “not guilty” verdict on actual sexual harassment without mentioning that they still found the complaint had merit as inappropriate workplace behavior on the basis of the bat paper alone. It gave me the impression, reading Evans’ quoted letter in PZ’s post, that the president of the university had reversed the external investigators’ decision, rather than affirmed their narrower finding.

  344. #344 nastasie
    May 16, 2010

    @SC

    Look, you questioned the article’s relevance to the discussion of human uniqueness a few times, didn’t you? So I took it from that that you thought it was inappropriate of Evans to show his colleague that article – otherwise what would have been the point of your questioning the article’s relevance to the purported debate? Because in order to conclude that it was irrelevant, one would have to read it, no? Or at least skim through it? So it follows from this that *if* the purported debate had in fact been taking place between them, it would have been at the very least perplexing for her to find the article “disgusting”.

    (And given that the professor works in the School of Medicine, I find it strange that she would deem the article disgusting in any case.)

    That’s why I came up with that imaginary scenario, but since the relevance of the article is *not* your main objection, then my imaginary scenario is moot. I’m granting your point.

    And I’m slightly groggy right now, so I’ll probably regret this in the morning, but I think she should have brought her concerns to Evans’ attention (or asked someone to do it, or do it by email – I’m wary of direct confrontation myself, so I understand the difficulty) before going straight to the authorities. Given *her own account*, I find her attitude hard to justify.

    But you mentioned above that you’re trying to have a conversation with Evans. I hope he provides the answers you want when he gets back online.

    Over and out.

  345. #345 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    @SC OM #339

    I would refer you to this quote from Dr. Evans’ final letter:

    “I have no objections to submitting to the training and counseling mandated by you, nor to undergoing a period of monitoring and appraisal, particularly if this helps me to avoid inadvertently upsetting unduly sensitive colleagues in future. However, I cannot permit you to sully my pristine record with the false contention that I have committed sexual harassment.”

    Little could be more indicative of his cluelessness.

  346. #346 Rob
    May 16, 2010

    I don’t deny his cluelessness. But my other points are valid, regardless of how clueless he may be.

  347. #347 V. infernalis
    May 16, 2010

    How is it possible that neither Zuska nor Isis have posted something to make Dr. Evans look like a misogynistic member of the mannsplainer hegemony yet?

  348. #348 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    That’s why I came up with that imaginary scenario,

    There’s no need. Let’s deal with what we semi-know.

    I think she should have brought her concerns to Evans’ attention (or asked someone to do it, or do it by email – I’m wary of direct confrontation myself, so I understand the difficulty) before going straight to the authorities.

    She went to the Head of School.

    Again, I’m not at all in complete knowledge of all of the facts here. I’m going on what’s been presented, with a skeptical eye towards the single viewpoint that’s been offered.

    At this point, Evans, it looks like you’re being something of an jerk (she may be, too, but that hasn’t been established).

  349. #349 dannystevens.myopenid.com
    May 16, 2010

    The investigation indicated there was no “harassment” and called into question the accusers veracity. All that remained was the “joke”. If you take that at face value there is no need to punish Dr. Evans at all.

    Even the joke can be examined further, by questioning the others who the paper was presented to and the person who was in the room when the paper was delivered to the complainant. That witness can tell us if the paper was delivered as part of a serious discussion or in a nudge nudge wink wink style.

    The investigators, by not questioning these witnesses, are implicitly indicating that to them this is an unimportant matter requiring no further follow up.

    Why is Dr Evans going to the internet? Because injustice works better in secret and because he is trying to defend himself from an injustice being imposed by his superior. Outside assistance is required.

  350. #350 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    Rob,

    I missed some of your comment. Soory.

    I think the point that many of us are making is that the University should be careful in handing out career-damaging punishments over what may very well be a misunderstanding.

    “Unduly sensitive” gives me pause, as do his comments here.

    It’s also troubling that mediation was never attempted. Maybe it could have helped, maybe not, but shouldn’t it be tried before harsher punishments?

    Maybe. I don’t know the details, but what has been recommended doesn’t seem outrageous.

  351. #351 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    I don’t deny his cluelessness. But my other points are valid, regardless of how clueless he may be.

    I guess my point is that counseling and monitoring look like reasonable responses to this sort of cluelessness.

    …Then again, they may be overkill.

    …Then again, he’s being a blockhead.

  352. #352 Jadehawk, OM
    May 16, 2010

    If you take that at face value there is no need to punish Dr. Evans at all.

    except that the monitoring is not meant as punishment; no one is suggesting it as appropriate out of punitiveness.

  353. #353 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 16, 2010

    Mattir:

    On the other hand, Dr. Evans has given sufficient information in his postings for anyone with decent google-fu to identify his accuser and make her life miserable (female, temporary faculty in his department at his university, originally from a Latin country, married to someone in his university’s administration, both now at another university in another country). I question whether launching an online campaign was really the most sensible or effective way to respond to the situation – Dr. Evans has generated a huge amount of attention that may damage both his own reputation and that of his accuser.

    his reputation? He’s been the subject of a complaint, and disciplinary action in a highly debatable action?

  354. #354 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 16, 2010

    SC:

    In the wake of a previous discussion on the presence or absence of oral sex in animal populations,

    I ask for evidence. None is forthcoming.

    Again I ask, what evidence would satisfy you? What, specifically? Why are you not also curious about the complainant’s evidence? Her story is on the same level as his – something each party is reporting, with no audio/video to back it up. Why aren’t you equally dubious or demanding evidence for her account?

  355. #355 Rob
    May 16, 2010

    @SC OM #351

    That comment convinces me that we’re not terribly far apart. I lean towards saying that counseling and monitoring may be overkill, but are perfectly acceptable as long as this isn’t a permanent blemish on his career. An official finding of sexual harassment in his record, if it is as damaging as some seem to think it is, is outrageous. And yes, he appears to be a blockhead.

    (Seriously, some might think that the complainant is being oversensitive, but who would put that in a letter to get their sexual harassment finding overturned? That’s just insane.)

  356. #356 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 16, 2010

    SC:

    What is your defense of Evan’s popping into his female colleague’s office (ignoring for the moment his broader trumpeting) with a demand for a response to this? Be very specific.

    Oh come on. Where’s your evidence for this, SC? Be specific. You’re casting this in the most provocative possible light (and still ignoring/discounting Dylan’s contention that this was part of an ongoing conversation) by characterizing it as a nefarious male intrusion into a female colleague’s office, agressively “demanding” an answer. And yes, your implication is quite clear. It’s just a hair shy of “making stuff up.”

    Bullshit. Back it up, or stop sexing it up unfairly. You’re a brilliant person with an analytical mind, and I honestly respect the hell out of your intellect and values. But you’re grinding an axe here, and it’s out of line.

  357. #357 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 16, 2010

    My #353 to Mattir should have set the following off in its own blockquote:

    Excuse me, but what about his reputation? He’s been the subject of a complaint, and disciplinary action in a highly debatable action?

  358. #358 superheadcat
    May 16, 2010

    From the get-go, SC OM seemed highly skeptical about the nature or even the existence of the debate between Dylan and the female faculty member, as well as that this particular paper is pertaining to the debate. I guess that is why s/he relentless pushed for more specific, detailed information about the debate. The existence and nature of the debate obviously is critical here. The perfect match between the article and the debate would seem to me less critical: if the female faculty had pointed out: ?we are debating issue xxx, but my understanding of this paper is that it is about issue yyy?, does this indicate Dylan had conducted improper behavior? I don?t think so. But SC OM seemed to think so.

    For some reason SC OM had not been satisfied with any response offered so far, to the point that s/he asserted we ?have only his word – coming late in the game (appears in none of the documents)?, to which I think the update document list should show his words indeed appear in the document (actually I think Dylan copied the text verbatim from the document); and s/he picked on the term ?would be? used by Dylan; and s/he questioned what the female faculty member?s possible ?misrepresented or misunderstood the mentions of gambling and Casanova? have to do with other matter (for one, would that not affect her credibility in the complaint?); and s/he concluded that it is established that ?Evans, it looks like you’re being something of a jerk?.

    The investigation indicated that Dylan had inappropriate behavior, but Dylan pointed out there were some key factual omission / inaccuracies in the investigation report. That could very well be a lie, but in that case, Dylan would be far beyond a clueless guy with inappropriate behavior, but a fucking lying SOB, and an extremely stupid one, since he posted all these materials online for the world to see.

    SC OM seemed pretty big on being specific. It would be great if s/he could provide a specific analysis regarding how Evans is ?being something of a jerk? based on the information presented. Of course s/he may also respond with a single ?I encourage reasonable people to read this thread?.

  359. #359 Robyn
    May 16, 2010

    #174″The notions that animals don’t engage in sex for pleasure, and/or in sexual activities that are orthogonal to reproduction, is widespread. Someone may well have fallen back on “well, humans are the only animals that, um….um…that have oral sex!” in trying to support their argument that humans are unique. The article refutes that.”

    But the article does not refute that. It asks what the adaptive function of the activity is ie its function re. reproductive fitness.
    When the female bats are forced to mate they appear not to lick the penis. The males, due to the female biased sex ratio, are likely susceptible to sperm depletion so a female that prolongs copulation is acting to increase her supply of sperm and to avoid a failure to conceive.

    This is not an example of sex for pleasure/not for reproductive advantage.

  360. #360 Robyn
    May 16, 2010

    #190 “Fellatio, also called fellation,[1] is oral sex performed upon the penis. It may be performed to induce orgasm and ejaculation of semen, or it can be used as foreplay prior to vaginal or anal forms of intercourse.

    I think licking it while having sex is appropriately called fellatio. I refuse to google that to find out though. I really do not want to see what Rule 34 has in store for results. =)”

    Trouble is that in true ladz mag style the idea is spreading that these bats ‘give head’ or ‘do blow jobs’. Hence the problems of not discussing the details and just seeing the initial tabloid-like headline.

    People can be very economical with the truth when it comes to manipulating the sexual behaviour and sexual responses of others.
    (As anal sex is mentioned here, this is something else that is falsely implied to exist in other species when the only incidences I know of re. male-female sex is two accidental cases with red deer. In one the female died from the injury and in the other the female recovered after months of disablement.)

  361. #361 Rorschach
    May 16, 2010

    Some 200 comments upthread someone said,

    Looking for trouble whether intended or not.

    That seems to sum it up nicely for me, socially clumsy and asking for trouble.
    Also, keep in mind that it’s not harassment unless you’ve been asked to drop it at least once before.
    I can’t sign this petition given I don’t know all the details.

  362. #362 Robyn
    May 16, 2010

    #224 “The fact that sex lasts longer when the female performs fellatio while having sex suggests that it’s for pleasure. Since for reproduction all he has to is get in, cum and get out. It doesn’t need to take that long, and he doesn’t necessarily need it to be licked since the bats still reproduce when fellatio isn’t performed.

    This is of course, if you believe him. I just wanted to point this out. In case you missed it so you may address this and what ever concerns you may have with this”

    Wrong Wrong Wrong
    It is not for pleasure – at least any pleasure experienced looks to be directly about fertilization success.
    What needs to be studied is whether the females can manipulate the male’s copulatory behaviour to ‘choose’ between which sperm is more likely to fertilize their eggs. There is a female biased sex ratio due to females reaching sexual maturity well before males plus resource-defence polygyny. Females also seem to mate sometimes with more than one male.

    Sperm depletion is a serious possibility that needs investigation. A female choosing a particular male will want enough sperm and so likely have adaptations to achieve that. If it is the ‘wrong male’ she wants copulation to be brief, which may mean a smaller amount of sperm and reduced chance of that male fertilizing her eggs if she then mates with a better male and induces more sperm from him by licking the base of his penis during copulation.

    If Evans did not attempt this type of debate when he presented the paper to the colleague and had not had this type of full debate with her previously then he was not seriously interested in animal sexual behaviour but was more interested in presenting a ladz mag type of tabloid headline to…well….it seems obvious to me.

  363. #363 Robyn
    May 16, 2010

    That last post should have been in response to #240

  364. #364 Robyn
    May 16, 2010

    #297 “I just finished watching my Japanese nassas (Nassarius fraterculus) (interesting species name there; “brother anus”) snails having an extremely enthusiastic threesome. They split up, then came together in alternate pairs, then went back to the triple pile-on again.

    I guess I shouldn’t be talking about it.

    Come to think of it, I probably shouldn’t even be watching such nastiness.

    At least I didn’t take any photos. This time.”

    And you would use this to argue what about human sexuality with a married woman you had already achieved (to your mind) some degree of intimacy and sexual tension with – and in the workplace?

    Do they use ‘love darts’ ie those hard sharp darts they stick in each other probably to introduce chemicals into the mate to stop them digesting the sperm rather than use it to fertilize eggs?
    Sexual/reproductive conflict is ubiquitous, isn’t it, primarily with males trying to overcome female resistence to mating. Even hermaphrodites are in conflict over which sex role they are forced to play – usually they want to be ‘male’ and not ‘female’ though sometimes they prefer female, sometimes at least because they use the sperm as a food resource.

    Now get that ladz, show it as evidence to the girls that they really ought not be averse to swallowing.

  365. #365 maureen.brian#b5c92
    May 16, 2010

    SC OM,

    If you are going to take the line you are taking – above, passim – then surely you as a social scientist realise that you need to know a damn sight more than you do about the mores of University College, Cork, and of that school in particular. Knowledge of the layout of faculty offices, the degree of formality or informality in visiting the offices of colleagues, etc. would also be helpful.

    Wearing my ex-manager, ex-trade union rep hats, I would also want to know how and when any policy on sexual harassment was drawn up and whether any of the participants in this saga had received training. Who was daft enough to draw up a policy without provision for mediation, informal warning or appeal?

    If someone has appointed you Grand Inquisitor here – I seem to have missed that event – should you not be grilling all other parties with equal vigour?

    I see little point in anyone – not just you – winding Dr Evans up and depriving him of sleep. That seems a very unlikely route to the truth.

    Finally, as someone who enjoys the more cerebral style of detective fiction – does it not register that Dr XXXX and husband promptly left town with shit still flying from every fan?

  366. #366 Robyn
    May 16, 2010

    And the irony of all this is still not being recognized….

    Dylan Evans was arguing in general (it apears) and for some time about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour. This means he was arguing in favour of evolutionary psychology.

    This suggests he would believe, even if he did not openly state this here, that ‘everything a man does he does to get laid’ which is the EP line as expressed by Satoshi Kanazawa of the LSE.

    He would also, thanks to the EP insight of Steven Pinker, know that males have evolved to take sexual risks and to interpret lack of interest from a female as sexual interest. Also from Pinker he would know the degree of self-deception that occurs in males re. their self-interest in sexual matters.

    And from the EP of Robert Wright he would know that female evolved sexual psychology means that men and women have very different responses to sex and sex-talk with a ‘reasonable woman’, as Wright says, having a very different response from a ‘reasonable man’ due to sound evolutionary reasons.

    As Griet Vandermassen (a feminist evolutionary biologist) puts it, there are sex differences in erotophilia ie positive emotions towards sex. Evolutionary psychology is about nothing if it is not about sex differences resulting fron asymmetrical reproductive roles of the sexes. These things have been discussed for decades by eg. Bateman, Parker, and most recently all the research into sexual conflict eg by Goren Arnqvist.

    So the whole point of evolutionary psychology – applying information from evolutionary biology to humans – is meant to be the acknowledgement that yes, men are likely to sexually harass women and also are likely to not see it as harassment because they have evolved ‘blocks’ towards sexual rejection and they either knowingly manipulate or have traits to cause them not to be able to see the self-interested and sexually manipulative reality of their own behaviour.

    So, is it only me who gets the irony here? Evans should be pleased that the actual outcome has been a fine example of evolutionary psychology for everyone to see, and the only problem seems to be that he was not objective enough to be able to predict the outcome from the start.

    Perhaps, as someone mentioned earlier, this has in fact been an EP experiment after all? :)

  367. #367 superheadcat
    May 16, 2010

    robyn @ 366:

    You got all these from…this thread?

    Did I miss the sarcasm somewhere? Why are you suddenly so over the top?

  368. #368 Robyn
    May 16, 2010

    Over the top in what way?

    For a moment you made me think that Evans is not a supporter of evolutionary psychology so I just checked and yes, he is:
    http://www.dylan.org.uk/evpsych.html

    So I’ve read Pinker and Robert Wright and many others and for the most part favourably. Popular EP tends to be extremely crass and it is perfectly understandable that many people take offense at that – or when any evolutionary biology is put forward in a stupidly crass manner under the guise of ‘scientific truth’.

    So all I’m saying is that Evans knows at least as much as I know about EP and should have been much more aware than most what was going on – including possibly subconsciously.

    It is like (a rather less charismatic) Dr Greg House suddenly pleading ignorance and innocence about a situation he was only too well aware he had instigated.

  369. #369 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    In the wake of a previous discussion on the presence or absence of oral sex in animal populations,

    I ask for evidence. None is forthcoming.

    Again I ask, what evidence would satisfy you? What, specifically?

    Again, he hasn’t claimed there was any previous discussion of oral sex in animal populations.

    Oh come on. Where’s your evidence for this, SC? Be specific. You’re casting this in the most provocative possible light (and still ignoring/discounting Dylan’s contention that this was part of an ongoing conversation) by characterizing it as a nefarious male intrusion into a female colleague’s office, agressively “demanding” an answer. And yes, your implication is quite clear. It’s just a hair shy of “making stuff up.”

    Bullshit. Back it up, or stop sexing it up unfairly. You’re a brilliant person with an analytical mind, and I honestly respect the hell out of your intellect and values. But you’re grinding an axe here, and it’s out of line.

    What are you talking about? He was going around to people’s offices with an article on female bats giving head during sex. If he and this particular colleague were having the debate that he says they were, this article doesn’t speak to it. I didn’t say that was a lie on his part (though his story did change); I’m trying to understand what he views as the relevance of this article. Why is this hard to understand? If my reading of the situation is correct – it’s tentative, and I’m not sure that it is – he seems to think that because it’s a peer-reviewed article any behavior involving it is appropriate/acceptable. I disagree, and from what I’ve heard (including from him) it sounds like he acted inappropriately. I didn’t suggest anything nefarious – just that he appears still not to get this.

    If someone has appointed you Grand Inquisitor here – I seem to have missed that event – should you not be grilling all other parties with equal vigour?

    What the hell? I would if they were here on the thread. I’ve pointed out the parts of her complaint that sounded strange to me.

  370. #370 irenedelse
    May 16, 2010

    Robyn:

    Popular EP tends to be extremely crass and it is perfectly understandable that many people take offense at that – or when any evolutionary biology is put forward in a stupidly crass manner under the guise of ‘scientific truth’.

    Oh, those horrible, horrible evilutionists, with their insistence on linking human behavior to *gasp* evolution from animals… It’s all sex and violence, I tell you, and not something fit for a refined audience! Maybe they should wear a warning badge, y’know? Some sort of clothing? Or be corralled into special Darwinist reservations, so that they wouldn’t upset the tender sensitivities of other academics…

  371. #371 irenedelse
    May 16, 2010

    @ SC:

    In the wake of a previous discussion on the presence or absence of oral sex in animal populations,

    For the Nth time…

    What Evans said was that there was an ongoing discussion on the unique characters, or lack of, in humans compared to other animals. The issue of oral sex was one of the examples offered by him to show there was no clear separation from human and animal behavior. But apparently, it was the one that broke the camel’s back.

    Maybe someone should offer a time machine to you, SC, if you can’t go back in the thread and read the relevant parts…

  372. #372 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    Sven, far above:

    If the guy was running up and down the hall barging into everybody’s offices brandishing the article(‘Fellatio by Fruit Bats Prolongs Copulation Time’) and gleefully announcing that she-bats give head too and then drawing some kind of putatively evolutionary conclusions about human behavior, I could see how some monitoring might have seemed like a good idea. *shrug*

    This seems pretty close to what happened, from my reading.

    Oh, those horrible, horrible evilutionists, with their insistence on linking human behavior to *gasp* evolution from animals…

    *eyeroll*

  373. #373 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    For the Nth time…

    What Evans said was that there was an ongoing discussion on the unique characters, or lack of, in humans compared to other animals. The issue of oral sex was one of the examples offered by him to show there was no clear separation from human and animal behavior. But apparently, it was the one that broke the camel’s back.

    Maybe someone should offer a time machine to you, SC, if you can’t go back in the thread and read the relevant parts…

    You’re dense. The claim was made that he was presenting the article in the context of a previous discussion specifically about oral sex in animal populations. That wasn’t the case, and he never said it was. That’s what I was responding to.

  374. #374 irenedelse
    May 16, 2010

    @ maureen.brian:

    Finally, as someone who enjoys the more cerebral style of detective fiction – does it not register that Dr XXXX and husband promptly left town with shit still flying from every fan?

    Heh. I did find it very interesting too. There is very possibly more here than some clueless (but not necessarily sexist) behavior in the part of Evans, or even of different cultural sensitivities. (F’r instance, here in France, which is quite Latin in culture, we think nothing of people of different sexes kissing each other on the cheek, sometimes up to 6 times in a row, to say hello or good-bye. And some visitors from Anglo-Saxon countries may well be surprised and interpret it as more intimacy than it is.)

    It could very easily be a case of Evans being caught in the crossfire of a dispute between Dr. XXX and her husband, who’s also a member of the university administration. Axes to grind, and all that.

  375. #375 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    cousinavi @ #269:

    The implication appears to be that Evans was doing that – showing it to many others, including “non-intimates” (does that include or exclude professional colleagues?) in the absence of any relevant context.

    This is not the case. He showed the article to colleagues with whom he had previously had a discussion about the existence of oral sex within animal populations. There’s your context…and he certainly was not disseminating the article widely, in public or to complete strangers.

    And again, he himself said he showed it to more than a dozen people that day.

  376. #376 Robyn
    May 16, 2010

    #370 Robyn:
    “Popular EP tends to be extremely crass and it is perfectly understandable that many people take offense at that – or when any evolutionary biology is put forward in a stupidly crass manner under the guise of ‘scientific truth’.

    Oh, those horrible, horrible evilutionists, with their insistence on linking human behavior to *gasp* evolution from animals… It’s all sex and violence, I tell you, and not something fit for a refined audience! Maybe they should wear a warning badge, y’know? Some sort of clothing? Or be corralled into special Darwinist reservations, so that they wouldn’t upset the tender sensitivities of other academics… ”

    Look, I’m absolutely in favour of science and reality and evolution. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get women/feminists/leftists to recognize humans as animals and not assume this necessarily threatens their causes. I’ve read widely about animal behaviour and especially the evolution of sex and the sexes. It is knowing the reality of animal sexual behaviour that undermines both the idea that males and females are alike (when sexually dimorphic) or that they share the same sexual/reproductive interests and are not ‘naturally’ in conflict.

    For example, as Pinker says:
    “The idea that most men have the capacity to rape works, if anything, in the interests of women, because it calls for vigilance against aquaintance rape, marital rape and rape during societal breakdown.[...]For that matter, Thornhill and Palmer’s hypothesis that rape is on a continuum with the rest of male sexuality makes them strange allies with the most radical gender feminists, such as Catherine Mackinnon and Andrea Dworkin, who said that ‘seduction is often difficult to distinguish from rape. In seduction, the rapist often bothers to buy a bottle of wine.”

    But it would be very foolish to assert that evolutionary biologists/Darwinists etc are all supporters of evolutionary psychology – many hate it and most of us recognize there are some valid aspects but also a lot of crass nonsense. Crass nonsense helps no one – and that would include the hyped nonsense that fruit bat females give blow jobs. It is an outright lie.

  377. #377 broboxley OT
    May 16, 2010

    @mirrirbird #342 having met only a few women in my life that would be capable of assuming the position I think that if willing to lick the base while being infiltrated it would be halel as long as she didnt swallow any seed in the process. No precedence for this but an abrahamic decision for a slightly different position may shed some light on it

    Q42) Is anal intercourse permissible?

    A42) Permission is bound to wife?s agreement, but it is strongly undesirable

    http://www.alulbayt.com/rulings/11.htm so prolly frowned upon but not exactly illegal

  378. #378 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2iHXmHs5tNP0aY2gFd0_n6Fa5NFvsj3BltZQuDo-#44b66
    May 16, 2010

    To Windy 252, Aquaria 253 – brave circulators of the article to their colleagues:

    What I said was , “I also have a feeling that many of the people here who are defending Evans would no way, no how circulate that article”

    The fact that the 2 of you shared the article (or maybe 3, 4 or 10 if I missed some) doesn’t constitute “many” out of the dozens who are participating in the thread, and the possibly hundreds who are lurking.

    SCOM and Carlie
    ***great posts***

    superheadcat 277
    >I am curious about the strong, certain conviction with which Hillary stated her opinion. She believed this is sexual harassment from the beginning, but chose to post her comments after the first set of documents are posted, because she wanted to wait after Dylan was ?tried?. But in the documents, as Dylan pointed out to me, ?sexual harassment? charge had been explicitly exonerated. Yet she continued to use the terms ?harassment?/ ?harasser? without hesitation.

    With respect, I thinking you are misreading what I wrote. As Evans himself points out, the university response is a bit incoherent – he’s exonerated of intentional sexual harassment but still held culpable for his behavior. // Also, you are blurring the line between my general points about sexual harassment and my specific points about Dr. Evans, which are much more focused.

    > And when she addressed opinions of others such as PZ, she speculated about their motives behind their opinions, based on their personal

    We all know PZ is a scientist, and science is the context in which all conversations on scienceblogs occur. PZ himself introduced the false accusation into the conversation, making it part of the narrative Anyway, 90% of this thread (or more) consists of speculating on motives (the 2 people’s, and other commenters!). You’re being a bit disingenuous and nitpicking I think. **Still** I appreciate the reasonable, noninflammatory tone of your comments.

    Hillary

  379. #379 martha
    May 16, 2010

    In general I believe that sexual harassment claims should be reserved for when there is a power difference between the two parties, where one is a subordinate.

    Between equals I think that no matter how leering the presentation of the article it should not be considered harassment. Women in those situations need to toughen up a bit.

    I used to be the president of a law firm with about 75 employees. In my opinion no employee could sexually harass me. But my behavior had to be impeccable as I could harass any of them.

    (This assumes no actual physical assault or threats of assault, but simply rude and crude behavior).

  380. #380 Sven DiMilo
    May 16, 2010

    There can be no harrassment among peers? That’s ridiculous. Of course there can be.

  381. #381 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2iHXmHs5tNP0aY2gFd0_n6Fa5NFvsj3BltZQuDo-#44b66
    May 16, 2010

    Rob 341 –

    Great post – even from someone who disagrees with you. Thank you for pointing out:

    “As an aside, I have to admit his use of the phrase “unduly sensitive” here is not helping his case.”

    That phrase “unduly sensitive” is a huge tell – he still, after all he’s been through, seems to see himself as a victim. Even many of his strong supporters here believe he acted unwisely, if not harassingly, but he doesn’t acknowledge that.

    And he says almost the same phrase here:

    “If certain individual members of staff with unusually sensitive dispositions are allowed to block debate on any topic which they may happen to find mildly upsetting, then academic freedom is severely curtailed.”

    I’m getting a lot of flack for saying he doesn’t deserve benefit of the doubt. I understand why people would have that opinion. But the very ambiguous, manipulative nature of harassment, and the fact that it tends to happen in private, means that someone needs to get benefit of the doubt. And, as you point out, comments like the “sensitive” ones don’t help Evans’ already-weak case.

    The bottom line is, if Evans is not being disingenuous (and I’m not saying he isn’t), then he’s simply too clueless to be a faculty member – a job that involves not just interacting with female colleagues and female students, but working with diverse people to get grants, conduct research, run departments, etc. And he has shown great recklessless, especially for an untenured faculty member. What department – academic or otherwise? – needs that, particularly when there are lots of other candidates around?

    And I’m not talking just about the harassment, but his behavior afterwards, including his arrogant noncontrition, and his choice to publicly embarrass his university and university president – to what purpose? His career might have at one time been compromised by the accusation, but he has since firebombed it himself – all in a situation where his own innocence is far from clear-cut. (Not to mention an unprofessional amount of oversharing in his reply to the report). It is possible that at one point in the process he might have been somewhat victimized (I agree – she should have confronted him, although there are reasons that that always isn’t practical) – but that train left long ago.

    The truly intelligent thing to have done (besides not foolishly flauting the article to start with) would have been to talk to a lawyer early on. I feel pretty sure that either he didn’t do that, or he got a bad one, or he didn’t listen.

    Hillary

  382. #382 Sven DiMilo
    May 16, 2010

    “If certain individual members of staff with unusually sensitive dispositions are allowed to block debate on any topic which they may happen to find mildly upsetting, then academic freedom is severely curtailed.”

    Whatever the specifics of the case, this is pretty clearly over the top. While I’m still not sure exactly what was motivating the complainant, I am certain that she was not trying to curtail Evans’s academic freedom by blocking academic debate.

  383. #383 kilternkafuffle
    May 16, 2010

    Having examined the evidence, I will sign the petition.

    The conviction of sexual harassment rested solely on the sharing of the bat sex article. Even if some circles find such literature inappropriate and objectionable, it under no circumstances warrants heavy punishment. We cannot help but fully support academic freedom in this case.

    The opinion of the experienced and authoritative external investigation is of the exact same mind. SC OM’s valiant efforts notwithstanding, I think this point is exhausted.

    Now, either the university President is an idiot who thinks “smutty” papers don’t deserve academic freedom, or he thinks that prior behavior constituted sexual harassment (disagreeing with the initial investigation), and uses the article as a pretend-excuse for punishment.

    The question then depends on whether we disagree with the initial investigation and conclude that prior behavior constituted sexual harassment.

    The history of prior friendliness, and at the very most, ambiguous disagreement on the part of the complainant, provide reasonable doubt that Pr. Evans was ever aware he was being offensive. While the email provided to us could have been faked (screenshots would be more convincing), the fact that the (presumably computer-literate) investigators have cited the e-mails as valid proof of disparity between the understandings of the two parties beckons us to do likewise.

    (The only thing that bothers me is that Pr. Evans, in his posts here, first refers to the posted e-mail as that of the complainant (“she”), and then refers back to it as the e-mail of the husband (“he”), which I would hope he could clarify.)

    Lastly, Pr. Evans has no prior record, has a steady partner, and could not possibly present any danger to the complainant in the future, which means that the cost of him going free is minimal even under the worst circumstances.

    At most, he is guilty of social insensitivity (which doesn’t constitute sexual harassment), and this incident will surely prompt him to treat his coworkers with care in the future.

    The punishment does not fit the crime and the crime that is considered a crime is no crime for a believer in academic freedom.

  384. #384 https://me.yahoo.com/a/DMi7D9olkM0R4V44cJzXOMy5CXK9RUQ-#1bf1f
    May 16, 2010

    That phrase “unduly sensitive” is a huge tell – he still, after all he’s been through, seems to see himself as a victim.

    Given the evidence it certainly seems a victim is precisely what he is. The letter written by the Irish Federation of University Teachers describes the situation well:
    http://felidware.com/DylanEvans/ifut.pdf

    What I do not understand though is how, in this comments section, some people are wilfully ignoring the facts of this case in order to try justifying their belief that Evans did anything wrong. SC, in particular, has been forced to ignore relevant facts while twisting the words of others in order to try presenting Evans as a guilty party.

    There was a female colleague I used to work with, and I shared a scientific paper with her that was much worse that this bat paper. It was entirely unrelated to any academic matter and I brought it up simply because I found the paper interesting. Had this colleague expressed any unease I would have ceased the discussion there and then, and that would have been the end of it. As it transpired she found it interesting and that was that. Had that colleague went behind my back and filed a report, just as happened in Evan?s case, and had she also claimed the many times I discussed things of a sexual nature with her were sexual harassment ? would I be in need of a two year probationary period with training and counselling too? More relevantly, would I have garnered an army of dissenters on a PZ blog thread arguing in the same shit vein as some are doing here?

    To some the phrase ?unduly sensitive? is a huge tell, apparently, of Evan?s sexual malfeasance. Given the nature of this case, given that evidence offered in the complainant was cast into serious doubts by certain emails and given the fact that not once was the complainant?s unease ever articulated to either Evan?s nor and colleague prior to the complaint, I think the phrase ?unduly sensitive? was flattery. In light of the facts I would have went with ?lying manipulative bitch? personally.

  385. #385 https://me.yahoo.com/a/DMi7D9olkM0R4V44cJzXOMy5CXK9RUQ-#1bf1f
    May 16, 2010

    his choice to publicly embarrass his university and university president – to what purpose?

    You really cannot ascertain the purpose? Seriously?

    Let me give you a clue. Injustices that stay secret tend to remain injustices.

  386. #386 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    The conviction of sexual harassment rested solely on the sharing of the bat sex article. Even if some circles find such literature inappropriate and objectionable, it under no circumstances warrants heavy punishment.

    It’s about the appropriateness of his going around showing people this particular article in this context, not about people finding the material objectionable per se.

    At most, he is guilty of social insensitivity (which doesn’t constitute sexual harassment),

    It appears he’s “guilty” of (sexually) inappropriate conduct. Does the u. have such a distinction, or is it harassment or nothing?

    and this incident will surely prompt him to treat his coworkers with care in the future.

    His comments suggest otherwise.

    The punishment does not fit the crime and the crime that is considered a crime is no crime for a believer in academic freedom.

    The “punishment” is undergoing some training/counseling (has anyone provided the details of this?) and being monitored for two years with 6-month reports from the Head of School. He said: “I have no objections to submitting to the training and counseling mandated by you, nor to undergoing a period of monitoring and appraisal,…,” and seems to be objecting to having his record say that he had committed sexual harassment. I agree with the latter objection, though it appears to have been inappropriate conduct.

  387. #387 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    SC, in particular, has been forced to ignore relevant facts while twisting the words of others in order to try presenting Evans as a guilty party.

    Moron.

    In light of the facts I would have went with ?lying manipulative bitch? personally.

    Perfect.

  388. #388 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    Sven @ #286, intelligently:

    Evans is a psychologist/philosopher. He doesn’t study animal behavior. The particular coital habits of Chinese fruit-bats were nevertheless interesting enough to him that he showed the article about these habits to over a dozen colleagues in one day–colleagues on the faculty of the School of Medicine and Health, not themselves engaged in comparative sexual-behavior research.
    How is this about “academic freedom”?

    It’s about a guy who got perhaps too big a kick out of the fruit-bat-fellatio thing.

  389. #389 https://me.yahoo.com/a/DMi7D9olkM0R4V44cJzXOMy5CXK9RUQ-#1bf1f
    May 16, 2010

    It appears he’s “guilty” of (sexually) inappropriate conduct.

    Not really. Isn?t ignoring whole slews of facts and context fun when you have an axe to grind? Were you raped or harassed or something to bring about this axe to grind, or is it simply that you are a moron?

  390. #390 dutchdoc
    May 16, 2010
  391. #391 Sven DiMilo
    May 16, 2010

    In light of the facts I would have went with ?lying manipulative bitch? personally.

    Stay classy.

    Attempts to reduce the particulars of this case to ‘the act of showing a peer-reviewed article to a colleague’ in an effort to frame it purely as an academic-freedom issue are silly.

    The nature of the particular article, the specific context and manner in which the article was “shown” and the history of interaction between the particular complainant and accused are all relevant.

    Dr. Evans’s claim that the article was presented to this particular colleague solely in the context of an ongoing academic debate between them is belied by the fact that he also showed the same article on the same day to “over a dozen” other colleagues (at least one of whom, according to the complaint, was left “visibly upset” by the experience). Unless Dr. Evans had been engaged in similar academic debates with everybody who happened to be around the department on that day, then his reasons for bringing it to their attention must be found elsewhere. Fruit-bat behavior is at best tangential and far more likely completely irrelevant to the professional research interests of any members of a faculty of Medicine and Health.

    The scientific content of the article in question is hardly significant in any general-interest way; it’s merely an observational study of a particular behavior of a particular species. Nor does it bear in any meaningful way on the evolution of human behavior.

    We are forced to the conclusion that what excited Dr. Evans so about this particular paper was precisely its prurient associations with human sexuality, and therefore that Dr. Evans likely evinced this attitude in the “showing”.

    The very brief official investigator’s report is apparently based solely on interviews with Evans and the complainant. No attempt seems to have been made to talk to any of the other dozen-plus people to whom Evans “showed” to article that day, including the other person who may (or may not) have been in the room with the complainant, and including the staff member alleged to have been vivibly upset by the “showing”. (I would hazard the guess, however, that the School Head and probably the President were in receipt of such accounts.) How many were women? How did they take it?

    We here on the internet have only a detailed personal–and necessarily self-serving–account of one side of the story (I include the letter from the teacher’s union), with the other side(s) represented only by the official paperwork, and many relevant sides unrepresented at all.

    It seems to me that two years of don’t-do-it-again is not necessarily unreasonable for what at very best was total cluelessness about preofessional relationships.

    Nobody’s “academic freedom” is at issue.
    Freedom from creepy sophomoric douchebags guffawing lasciviously about batsex, though, may well be.

  392. #392 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    Not really. Isn?t ignoring whole slews of facts and context fun when you have an axe to grind?

    I have no axe to grind, and haven’t ignored anything.

    Were you raped or harassed or something to bring about this axe to grind,

    See above.

    or is it simply that you are a moron?

    See above.

    Do you have anything non-ad homish to add?

  393. #393 Fishkiller
    May 16, 2010

    I called Dr. XXXX’s husband as the motive for the complaint almost immediately. After continuing to read the thread and other links it appears most likely to me that the reason Dr. XXXX made the complaint has less to do with Dr. Evans and his behavior than the situation that is going on in Dr. XXXX’s life.

    Specifically:
    The situation that Dr. XXXX’s husband was in with his secretary.
    The lack of any notification to Dr. Evans that his behavior was considered inappropriate.
    Dr. XXXX inviting Dr. Evans to an event with her.
    The week of delay between the event and the filing of the complaint.
    The previous discussion that had been going on between Dr. XXXX and Dr. Evans.
    The e-mail between Dr. XXXX and Dr. Evans.
    Dr. XXXX asking for a copy of the article.
    The fact that Dr. Evans was showing this article to other colleagues. The filler in the complaint that mentioned Casanova and gambling. The presence of a witness.
    The inaccuracies of the initial report.

    With all of this it is scary that a person can totally derail the career of someone else who is trying to use a peer reviewed article in a scientific journal to make a point in a continuing discussion. Especially without letting the person know that their behavior was offensive or harassing at any point.

    No one should have the right to not be offended. They should have the right to not be repeatedly offended at their place of work if it is creating an intimidating or damaging work environment. Nothing that has been presented has shown that that is what Dr. Evans was doing. Indeed much can be shown to say that he was not repeatedly offending Dr. XXXX.

    Again, it seems most likely to me that Dr. XXXX, after forcing her husband to fire a secretary for an inadvertent text, was pressured by her husband to do some equally absurd thing to show that she was as committed to the relationship as he was. Much assumption I know, but based on what has been presented it seems most likely to me.

    Many people are saying that Dr. Evans should have been aware of what someone else would find offensive. No one knows what other people will find offensive unless they are told. No one knows to what degree another person will be offended by something. To only act in a manner that you know will not be offensive would be to do as Bologna has suggested, and not have contact with another person. Unless Dr. Evans was notified by Dr. XXXX that what he was doing is offensive to her, how is he to know what she will find offensive.

    It doesn’t seem right that a professor can have his career derailed for showing what he felt was a relevant article to a colleague, where there was no history of harassment or offense, no notice of harassment or offense, and no indication (by Dr. XXXX to Dr. Evans) of harassment or offense.

  394. #394 https://me.yahoo.com/a/DMi7D9olkM0R4V44cJzXOMy5CXK9RUQ-#1bf1f
    May 16, 2010

    I have no axe to grind, and haven’t ignored anything.

    So you haven?t ignored anything? So the whole slew of posts pointing out the context with which the article was presented didn?t happen then? That?s just embarrassing for you.

    Do you have anything non-ad homish to add?

    Not really. So was it rape of harassment? You side-stepped that one.

    The nature of the particular article, the specific context and manner in which the article was “shown” and the history of interaction between the particular complainant and accused are all relevant.

    And the history of interaction between the two (including that the complainant likely told some porkies that needed email evidence to highlight) and the context with which the article were presented show that this issue really does boil down to the showing a of a peer reviewed article.

    It seems to me that two years of don’t-do-it-again is not necessarily unreasonable for what at very best was total cluelessness about preofessional relationships.

    It actually scares me that you think this. That the complainant did not ever raise the issue, with either Evan?s or colleagues prior to the complaint, doesn?t seem to register with you. That the claims of sexual harassment were dismissed, and that such claims may have been fabricated, doesn?t seem to register with you. No point in staying classy when, if you think about, you are essentially accusing Evan?s of the grevious crimes of A) being a man and B) daring to ever talk about something of a sexual nature. Fuck that shit, because that type of mentality really does lead to the type of academic censorship you feel this issue is unrelated to.

  395. #395 kilternkafuffle
    May 16, 2010

    @386 & 388(quoting 286):
    So we agree that he isn’t guilty of sexual harassment and that that should be overturned. Is he then guilty of rude sexual commentary?

    The context is impossible to establish unless we interview Dr. XXXX, who was allegedly in the same room, but the burden of proof is always on the prosecution.

    I’ll concede that there are peer-reviewed papers out there sharing which with every academic peer would be iffy. Say, the search for the G-spot or something with explicit images. I would expect that professors at a School of Medicine would have tougher skin for such topics (and all except one did!), but alright.

    However, unless it is a pattern of him being “that guy that spams everybody with animal sex articles”, a faculty head rebuke seems enough of a behavior correction mechanism.

    I’m skeptical of the usefulness of years of counseling, training, and monitoring over what is at most unintentionally rude behavior. Presumably, these would also be about sexual harassment, per his, as you’ve agreed, wrongful conviction, and would thus be marginally applicable.

    Also, I agree that a “lying manipulative bitch” is an entirely uncalled for label, even if we accept Pr. Evan’s entire account and speculation. Calling women bitches plays into the sexism inherent to pejorative language and is also dull and undescriptive.

  396. #396 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    So you haven?t ignored anything? So the whole slew of posts pointing out the context with which the article was presented didn?t happen then? That?s just embarrassing for you.

    What are you talking about? I asked him several questions about the specific nature of the claimed debate with this particular colleague and how this article specifically spoke to it. His story shifted a bit, but even if I believe his latter claim that the colleague had contended something (strange) about other animals not having sex for pleasure, I don’t get how he thought this particular article spoke to that issue. But, as has been mentioned several times and as Sven explained in some depth, this whole debate-context justification is odd in light of the fact that he presented the article to more than a dozen other people that day. Why do you think he did that?

    Not really. So was it rape of harassment? You side-stepped that one.

    I didn’t side-step anything. I don’t have an axe to grind.

    And the history of interaction between the two (including that the complainant likely told some porkies that needed email evidence to highlight) and the context with which the article were presented show that this issue really does boil down to the showing a of a peer reviewed article.

    Way to fail to address anything in his post.

    No point in staying classy when, if you think about, you are essentially accusing Evan?s of the grevious crimes of A) being a man

    Yeah, Sven. I’m really tired of you using every post to grind your radical feminist axe.

  397. #397 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    So we agree that he isn’t guilty of sexual harassment and that that should be overturned. Is he then guilty of rude sexual commentary?

    It looks like (sexually) inappropriate conduct. I don’t know what designations are used at that university.

    I’m skeptical of the usefulness of years of counseling, training, and monitoring

    I don’t think anyone has provided the details of the counseling/training, though I would be surprised if anything like years was being proposed. It appears that the monitoring is like a probationary status with four 6-month reports. That doesn’t seem unreasonable.

    over what is at most unintentionally rude behavior.

    No.

    However, unless it is a pattern of him being “that guy that spams everybody with animal sex articles”, a faculty head rebuke seems enough of a behavior correction mechanism.

    Well, others disagree.

    Presumably, these would also be about sexual harassment, per his, as you’ve agreed, wrongful conviction, and would thus be marginally applicable.

    “Conviction” is the wrong word. What aren’t you getting? I said that it appears his conduct was inappropriate and warrants a response.

  398. #398 kilternkafuffle
    May 16, 2010

    Well, the “conduct” is sharing a racy article with an (apparently friendly) colleague. I don’t think it warrants a response that is reserved for those guilty of sexual harassment.

  399. #399 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    It appears that it fits within their definition.

    http://www.ucc.ie/en/hr/equality-wellbeing/health/harassment/

    Well, the “conduct” is sharing a racy article with an (apparently friendly) colleague.

    The conduct is what’s been described above. It is not generally OK to go around your workplace presenting several of your coworkers with articles about fellatio, and people should appreciate how their doing so might be received. This can be justified if there’s a specific academic relevance and purpose and it’s done professionally. This doesn’t look to be the case here.

    I don’t think it warrants a response that is reserved for those guilty of sexual harassment.

    The president found that the conduct didn’t warrant disciplinary action but instead training/counseling/probation.

  400. #400 Fishkiller
    May 16, 2010

    @SC OM, #397
    Specifically what about his conduct was inappropriate? What about that warrants a response? What type of response? How is ending someone’s career over the presentation of evidence in an ongoing discussion an appropriate response?

  401. #401 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    Specifically what about his conduct was inappropriate? What about that warrants a response? What type of response? How is ending someone’s career over the presentation of evidence in an ongoing discussion an appropriate response?

    Are all of my previous posts (and Sven’s and others’) invisible to you?

  402. #402 Sven DiMilo
    May 16, 2010

    That the complainant did not ever raise the issue, with either Evan?s or colleagues prior to the complaint, doesn?t seem to register with you. That the claims of sexual harassment were dismissed, and that such claims may have been fabricated, doesn?t seem to register with you.

    In fact, the sole reason that the claims of sexual harassment were dismissed was, specifically and explicitly because the complainant had never filed a previous complaint. As far as I know, not even Evans has claimed that anything was fabricated, just misinterpreted.

    From the official investigators’ report:

    “we find that the complaint…falls within the definition of sexual harassment in the University’s…Policy”

    but that

    Dr. XXXX admits that she was not sufficiently assertive in making clear her displeasure at his visits to her office or his other behaviour. We cannot therefore find that any of the actions of Dr. Evans up to 2 November 2009 constituted sexual harassment and do not therefore uphold those complaints. It is clear however that these complaints are not malicious.

    “We cannot therefore find that…” are carefully chosen words. The last quoted sentence is not gratuitous either.

    It’s not about men having the right to talk about sex if they want, and it’s not an issue of academic freedom or freedom of speech. It’s about inappropriate professional behavior in the workplace. His behavior–specifically, showing a professionally irrelevant and sexually/luridly titled article to a female colleague and asking for her reaction–was inappropriate, in the view of the complainant, the investigators, the President of the University, and me, at a minimum.

    I also think that attempting to clear one’s name by collecting electronic petition signatures from You-Tube viewers is pretty pathetic. How is this petition any different from the polls PZ likes to pharyngulate?

  403. #403 Robyn
    May 16, 2010

    When Dylan Evans has been cleared and can get back to his academic debates about the relevance of animal sexual behaviour to human sexuality I’ve got a few papers for him to wave around next.
    (nudge nudge, wink wink)

    First a paper about sexual asphyxiation in garter snakes. The males all pile onto each female as she emerges from hibernation and crush her until she almost suffocates. This causes a stress response in the female which causes her cloaca to open and intromission (or should I call it fucking for better ladz effect?) to take place. See, suffocation during sex does not mean humans are unique.

    And then add the numerous other studies where females die due to sex – dung flies drowning in the dung due to multiple males piling on top of the female, sea turtles being unable to reach the surface to breathe due to the weight of the male on her back, similar re. frogs. And best of all the gang rape by mallard ducks – 7-10% of female mortality due to gang rape in one study. Gang rape and death during sex. See, again not unique to humans.

    True, males are guilty of nothing more than being males. But I don’t think we can rationally add that female objections/counter-strategies/alternative self-interest is actually them being manipulative bitches, can we? Seems a little male-biased to me and quite some distance from what evolution objectively helps to inform us about the evolution of sex and the sexes. There seems to be as much of a lack of knowledge about all this here and on other science forums/blogs as in Evans’ University department.

  404. #404 Joseph
    May 16, 2010

    Whatever this case is about it’s not obvious that it’s about denial of academic freedom. I’ll leave others to pass judgement on a sexual harassment allegation based on partial evidence, but on looking at Dr Evans website I find that this is not the only time he has accused someone of denying his academic freedom.
    The guilty party then was Steven Rose who objected to a view attributed to him by Evans in a comic book introduction to evolutionary psychology.
    Evans had to remove the offending comment and then seemingly went on to the internet to claim that his academic freedom had been infringed.

    http://www.dylan.org.uk/brown.html

  405. #405 Fishkiller
    May 16, 2010

    SC OM,
    As I read through, I have seen you mention his inappropriate behavior multiple times. I have seen you say that it deserves a response several times. I still have not seen exactly what you think is inappropriate. Is it that it was sexual in nature? Is it that it was among bats? Is it the way it was presented?
    I have also seen that this was a continuing discussion amongst the two of them that had previously mentioned sexual practices among humans as one of the ways that we are “unique”. In presenting a peer reviewed study that shows a sexual practice is not unique to humans I think that it entirely appropriate.
    My main point is that without knowledge that what he was doing was offensive provided by the Dr. XXXX, is it appropriate to have a two year response that ends his aspirations and career?

    Looking at the link that is provided by the University it seems that there could be almost no presentation of materials to others without it meeting the guidelines of being offensive. Yes it could be interpreted that this was offensive material, but so could almost anything else presented or shared at the University. Without letting Pr. Evans know he was being offensive (if he was) is ending his career appropriate?

  406. #406 Fishkiller
    May 16, 2010

    Reading some of the refreshed posts makes me reflect. I think the main point is still valid, that without being let know what he was doing was inappropriate, and the history of the discussion the two were having the two year penalty and mark against him is excessive. Looking at the posts by Robyn @403 and Sven @401 and has made me realize why I usually just Lurk here and watch people make comments instead of adding my own. SC sorry for the callout, and I will continue to watch.

  407. #407 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 16, 2010

    This case isn’t about academic freedom. Dr. Evans could have held a seminar on the paper and/or a set of similar papers without problem. He could have collected a set of such papers and attempted to publish his analysis of them without problem. He could have used the paper in his classes if appropriate material for the subject matter. He could have used that paper to trigger a new area of research for himself, and seek funding for the project. Those are cold, hard examples of academic freedom.

    This case is about what a colleague felt was inappropriate behavior, perhaps even harassment. Here, Dr. Evans appeared to have stepped over rather vague, but existing line, and is now trying to hide behind academic freedom rather than to take responsibility for his actions. What troubles me is his taking the paper around to about a dozen colleagues. Why not simply send link via e-mail to those interested? My feeling is that he was ramming that paper down people’s throats in a smug fashion. And thought he was “edgy” until someone complained. Dr. Evans appears to be a bit clueless about the need for a certain amount of discretion with certain materials. It doesn’t matter if it is peer reviewed or not. There is a proper and improper way to share such things. Going to someone’s office with a “gottcha” attitude is not the proper way. The proper ways are covered in the first paragraph. I’m not signing the petition.

  408. #408 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    As I read through, I have seen you mention his inappropriate behavior multiple times. I have seen you say that it deserves a response several times. I still have not seen exactly what you think is inappropriate. Is it that it was sexual in nature?

    As Sven said: “His behavior–specifically, showing a professionally irrelevant and sexually/luridly titled article to a female colleague and asking for her reaction–was inappropriate, in the view of the complainant, the investigators, the President of the University, and me, at a minimum.”

    I have also seen that this was a continuing discussion amongst the two of them that had previously mentioned sexual practices among humans as one of the ways that we are “unique”. In presenting a peer reviewed study that shows a sexual practice is not unique to humans [sic] I think that it entirely appropriate.

    This has been discussed in detail above. And will you please fucking address the fact that he presented it to more than a dozen people that day?

    My main point is that without knowledge that what he was doing was offensive provided by the Dr. XXXX,

    It was inappropriate conduct.

    is it appropriate to have a two year response that ends his aspirations and career?

    The response was the non-disciplinary one. Some training/counseling and two years’ probation. This talk of ending his aspirations and career is hyperbolic. His behavior was, it appears, inappropriate and totally unprofessional, and he still doesn’t get why.

    Looking at the link that is provided by the University it seems that there could be almost no presentation of materials to others without it meeting the guidelines of being offensive.

    It was an article about penis-licking.

  409. #409 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    No problem Fishkiller. Feel free to ignore my previous cross-post.

  410. #410 Joseph
    May 16, 2010

    Fishkiller
    As I read it the judgement in the case was not to proceed with a disciplinary sanction but to deal with it by way of training/awareness raising.
    Now this decision may have been perverse but it was not going to put an end to his career. Also the process was not finished as far as I can see.
    Setting up an internet petition based on partial information and then adding more details here does not seem like a good way to prolong a career either at his current school or any prospective one.

  411. #411 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    Thanks for the link, Joseph. Very interesting.

    Rose replies that this was not an academic dispute; it was a simple matter of factual accuracy. He also says that he had never threatened legal action, just pointed out to the publishers that he had been advised that the original speech bubble was defamatory. “The advice I would have for Dylan Evans is very simple. When you’re in a hole, stop digging.”

  412. #412 Sven DiMilo
    May 16, 2010

    Look, I’m here to tell you that even being denied tenure is not the end of an academic’s career and aspirations. If, when Evans’s tenure case comes up (presumably including four letters dated at six-month intervals stating that nobody complained of his harassment), the administration tried to block it explicitly because of the fruit-bat-article incident, then Evans would have a valid complaint.

    As things stand though, the administration will probably instead cite the embarrassment afforded the University by his over-the-top reaction (which includes posting official University correspondence on a You-Tube video titled “fruitbatgate” to the tune of a smokin’ hot dance track that repeats “just a lie”).

  413. #413 Ichthyic
    May 16, 2010

    interesting debate about Evans. After reading all analyses, I tend to side with what SC has pointed out.

    Evans’ behavior was inappropriate. Not sexual harassment, but certainly most dept. members would look askance at someone who marched around to peoples offices brandishing that article in hand.

    Yes, I picture him with a “see, see! I told you so!” presentation…

    Yeah, I don’t thinking filing a charge was necessary, but I seriously doubt that Evans will get tenure, aside from the odd behavior, publicly posting this issue is a death knell.

    I mean appealing to the interwebs to solve your internal issues?

    sorry, that’s anathema to garnering tenure.

    Evans shot himself in the foot there.

    That said, I have a comment about the paper itself.

    How well is this behavior actually documented? I could easily interpret it as the female responding to a general irritation with licking.

  414. #414 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    (which includes posting official University correspondence on a You-Tube video titled “fruitbatgate” to the tune of a smokin’ hot dance track that repeats “just a lie”).

    Wow. (I think the track is saying “justify,” but I’m not listening a second time to be sure.)

  415. #415 Ichthyic
    May 16, 2010

    the administration tried to block it explicitly because of the fruit-bat-article incident, then Evans would have a valid complaint.

    5 bucks says that regardless of what reasons (if any) the dept. gives for denying him tenure (and I’m betting they will), he will claim it is because of unfair treatment regarding “academic freedom”.

    sorry, but this just reminds me too much of the Gonzalez case.

  416. #416 Ichthyic
    May 16, 2010

    I think the track is saying “justify

    I agree.

  417. #417 Fishkiller
    May 16, 2010

    Sven, Joseph, and SC OM,
    I had a response that did not post (operator error?) that conceded the “end of career” point and others that had to do with this case. I had two main objections to the punishment.

    1. Pr. Evans was never let know that his behaviors were offensive to Dr. XXXX. There are many things that people can find offensive, but if they are not addressed then the offender will not know to change his behavior. If I had unknowingly offended someone, which I have, and was not told by the person I would not have known to change my behavior. In Pr. Evans case it is about sex, but it could have been about religion, race, gender, beliefs, appearance, language, music, images, or any number of things. By going directly to formal complaints, Pr. Evans was unable to change his behavior.

    2. I felt it was incredibly harsh to damage someone’s career based on an unintentional offense. I based this off information that was provided by Pr. Evans, and have since realized that it is probably hyperbolic. I am unaware of how the university system in Ireland (or anywhere) works and exactly what the punishment consisted of.

    Even if this has no bearing on his career, I would not want such a thing in my file either. I try to present myself as understanding and accepting of other beliefs and feelings, and would hate to have a mark in my file that I was not.

    As I said, I started feeling very strongly in favor of Pr. Evans, but as I continue to read it seems that he has done some strange things and reacted oddly to other things. Still, not understanding what others find offensive should not make for permanent marks in his file. No one understands what others find offensive. They need to be let know.

  418. #418 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 16, 2010

    No one understands what others find offensive. They need to be let know.

    But, if one considers one can be offensive, it does inhibit behavior that may go over the line. Just like they teach us in sexual harassment training here in private industry. I suspect this is Dr. Evans problem. He can’t see or even acknowledge where the line might be, because he doesn’t believe there is a line. His stoopidity got him into his mess. He’s trying to use arrogance to get out of the mess. I suggest abject and sincere apology instead…

  419. #419 Ichthyic
    May 16, 2010

    Pr. Evans was never let know that his behaviors were offensive to Dr. XXXX.

    doesn’t matter, really.

    If I had unknowingly offended someone, which I have, and was not told by the person I would not have known to change my behavior.

    we would all like life to be fair, but unfortunately, it’s often the case that people don’t let us know when we are being dickheads, and instead just react behind the scenes.

    the problem is, by the time you are a postdoc trying to garner tenure, this is one of the things you should have been able to figure out on your own.

    some of us are better at that than others, and in the case of gaining tenure, that does count in along with your ability to perform in your academic and research roles.

    I felt it was incredibly harsh to damage someone’s career based on an unintentional offense.

    Having experienced it myself, I have to agree that it seems harsh. However, it’s actually not unwarranted. We can’t decide how other people should react to offense, only how we react ourselves.

    Pick up and move on would have been my advice to Evans; maybe even private apologies for over-zealousness and cluelessness as to how his behavior might have impacted his colleagues. It’s a bit late for that now though.

    This, of course, is all based on less that 3rd party observation of the events documented here.

  420. #420 Knockgoats
    May 16, 2010

    “I have no objections to submitting to the training and counseling mandated by you, nor to undergoing a period of monitoring and appraisal, particularly if this helps me to avoid inadvertently upsetting unduly sensitive colleagues in future. However, I cannot permit you to sully my pristine record with the false contention that I have committed sexual harassment.” – Dylan Evans’ letter to the President.

    Having read the documents, I think the President may have misinterpreted the investigators’ report. The latter says that the complaint falls within the defintiion of sexual harassment – i.e., if Evans had acted as alleged (a pattern of behaviour) it would be sexual harassment – but this is easily misinterpreted as saying he had been guilty of the latter, although in fact, they conculde he had not. Evans is complaining that the President has wrongly put “sexual harassment” on his record, but agrees to monitoring and counselling. In that, he seems justified, even if he is clueless.

  421. #421 Mattir
    May 16, 2010

    We might also suggest to PZ that he use his mojo to encourage junior faculty not to shoot themselves so dramatically in the foot. I’m sure PZ has dealt with university and departmental politics plenty of times without necessarily involving planet-wide commotion.

    FWIW, I’m an adult woman, and I am also quite cautious about being alone one-on-one with other people’s kids or students. It’s actually official child-abuse-prevention advice in a lot of institutions and generally not all that difficult.

  422. #422 Walton
    May 16, 2010

    we would all like life to be fair, but unfortunately, it’s often the case that people don’t let us know when we are being dickheads, and instead just react behind the scenes.

    the problem is, by the time you are a postdoc trying to garner tenure, this is one of the things you should have been able to figure out on your own.

    some of us are better at that than others, and in the case of gaining tenure, that does count in along with your ability to perform in your academic and research roles.

    I fucking hate it when people say “life isn’t fair” and use this as an argument for treating someone unfairly. Sure, life is often unfair – but we should be working to change that, and we should not tolerate unfairness when we have the opportunity to do otherwise.

    It is grossly unfair to impose sanctions on someone who did not know, and had no way of knowing, he was doing anything wrong. It is not fair to punish a person for being unaware of some unwritten and unclear social boundaries.

    It has been accepted by everyone concerned that Dr Evans had no intention of causing offence and did not know that his behaviour was inappropriate. As far as I’m concerned, this in itself means that these sanctions should not have been imposed on him. Everyone is entitled to a fair warning, especially where one’s career is at stake.

    Someone being a bit clueless about social boundaries, or not knowing what another person would find offensive, is not a good reason for imposing disciplinary sanctions that ruin his career prospects. That is just totally wrong and inexcusable.

  423. #423 Carlie
    May 16, 2010

    Someone being a bit clueless about social boundaries, or not knowing what another person would find offensive, is not a good reason for imposing disciplinary sanctions that ruin his career prospects. That is just totally wrong and inexcusable.

    And that is not what happened here. According to the documents, the “sanctions” consist of getting training to NOT be so clueless about social boundaries and send reports on progress for a couple of years. This would not in any way ruin his career prospects; it could be mentioned in a letter of recommendation to another institution if the person writing the letter knows about it and feels like mentioning it, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, there are byzantine regulations about what can and can’t be divulged and by whom; I know of a case where a person was arrested and found guilty of sexual harassment, and the supervisor of the place he was working at when he was arrested on their premises was advised by legal counsel against mentioning it in recommendations lest he sue them for being defamatory. The only thing that has possibly harmed Dr. Evans’ future career prospects is the way he’s thrown it all over the internet.

  424. #424 superheadcat
    May 16, 2010

    Hillary @ 378,

    You want to talk about ?disingenuous??

    How about using the term ?harasser? repeatedly when the investigation report clearly exonerated Dylan from ?sexual harassment??

    Oh, right, you claimed to have a clear line between ?general points about sexual harassment and ? specific points about Dr. Evans?, as clearly shown by your assertions of ?Dr. Evans’ behavior shows [both things very characteristic of harassers]?, and ?Dr. Evans does not deserve benefit of the doubt?, without any evidence whatsoever to back them up.

    Btw, what role does Casanova play again? And how if a ?victim? is not sure if the ?harasser? is doing something improper, this fact itself indicates that the ?harasser? is indeed doing something improper?

    Yes, I strive to be reasonable and non-inflammatory when commenting. And it remains that way when I conclude, no you are not disingenuous, you are a liar and coward.

  425. #425 superheadcat
    May 16, 2010

    Robyn @ 368,

    You post 366 seems over the top to me since in it you mentioned Dylan ?appears? to argue ?about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour?, and from there you make several inferences ?that means he?s arguing??, then ?this suggests??, and he should ?also know?, up to the point that ?the whole point of evolutionary psychology? is ?men are likely to sexually harass women and also are likely to not see it as harassment?.

    I am not a biologist, and know about EP only as a casual reader of peoples like Pinker. But your characterization of EP seems quire odd to me, although you?ve shown you are quite knowledge about the field.

    For awhile, I thought you are against the basic principles of EP, and is making fun of it. Then the last part of your post 366 made me guess that you think Dylan is sexually harassing woman and not see it as harassment, and chose to present your opinion in this particular way.

    To me, that is quire over the top. And quite different from your commenting style in, say, post 108.

  426. #426 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    It is grossly unfair to impose sanctions on someone who did not know, and had no way of knowing, he was doing anything wrong.

    It is grossly ridiculous to suggest that a grown person has no way of knowing that going around presenting one’s colleagues with sexually explicit materials in the workplace may well be inappropriate and experienced as offensive and possibly harassing. I don’t know of any policies that don’t include something about this (including this institution’s). It’s justified in some circumstances, but that should never be assumed. He’s an adult, and likely had to read and sign something about this at the beginning of his employment.

    It’s also strange to argue that alleging ignorance of a law or policy excuses a person from administrative consequences.

    It is not fair to punish a person for being unaware of some unwritten and unclear social boundaries.

    He’s facing administrative consequences for violating a policy.

    It has been accepted by everyone concerned that Dr Evans had no intention of causing offence and did not know that his behaviour was inappropriate.

    But it appears to have been inappropriate. And he still does not acknowledge or understand this, and is presenting it as an academic freedom issue. How are some training/counseling and a probationary period grossly disproportionate? And if he had no intention of being provocative, what was his purpose in going around presenting people with this article?

    As far as I’m concerned, this in itself means that these sanctions should not have been imposed on him.

    Odd.

    Everyone is entitled to a fair warning,

    Well, people are expected not to engage in inappropriate behaviors. It’s good when things can be worked out at lower levels if possible, but this isn’t always possible or best. I think it’s arguable that an official warning would have been more appropriate (if that was an option after the complaint was upheld), but I don’t see the recommendations as unreasonable. And I don’t think an apology (which would not have been sincere since he does not acknowledge that he did anything inappropriate and has called people offended by his actions “unduly sensitive”) or mediation would have been appropriate.

    Someone being a bit clueless about social boundaries, or not knowing what another person would find offensive,

    Look, sexual harassment policies exist for a reason.

    is not a good reason for imposing disciplinary sanctions

    As has been explained, the president did not go the disciplinary route but the training/monitoring route.

    that ruin his career prospects.

    Hyperbole.

  427. #427 superheadcat
    May 16, 2010

    Can I safely assume that nobody here would dispute that there is no sexual harassment in this case?

    Is there improper conduct? All I can say is that there is conduct on Dylan’s part that he himself has said to be willing to change through training and monitoring, etc.

    But IMO, this is NOT the key of why he is making such a fuzz about. He’s appealing the President’s decision solely on the ground (based on his interpretation of the President’s decision) of the President’s “contention that I have committed sexual harassment”.

    Is that the right interpretation (I cannot make a conclusion based on the President’s letter)? If so, he has a pretty good case here.

  428. #428 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    Can I safely assume that nobody here would dispute that there is no sexual harassment in this case?

    No, after reading the policy and rereading the report upholding the claim, I think it fits within their definition established in the policy. After the claim was upheld, the president chose on that basis to go the training/monitoring route rather than imposing disciplinary sanctions.

    All I can say is that there is conduct on Dylan’s part that he himself has said to be willing to change through training and monitoring, etc.

    After which he has come out and opposed this publicly.

  429. #429 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 16, 2010

    I see inappropriate behavior by Dr. Evans. While it didn’t rise to actual harassment, it was inappropriate, in that there were other means available for him to bring the paper to the attention of people. Barging into offices and waving it around to a dozen colleagues, some of whom are women, would have gotten his ass fired on the spot in private industry. Ignorance is no excuse. We sign that we received our training on harassment every year where I work. The fact that this is a academic institution in way diminishes the inappropriate behavior. Dr. Evans simply won’t take responsibility for his boorish behavior. That means to me he should either be fired, or take the supervision and counseling like a man. If he can’t do the latter, he, if he was a man of integrity, would resign. Trying to get away with it by the internet petition means he knows he was wrong. My opinion.

  430. #430 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    I could be wrong about this meeting the definition. Can someone point me to where it says it has to be on ongoing pattern of behavior? If that’s the case, where would that put extremely egregious single incidents?

  431. #431 superheadcat
    May 16, 2010

    Nerd of Redhead @ 429,

    I also think whatever Dylan’s actions are, he himself considered them improper enough to agree to training/monitoring.

    I did not use the terms like “inappropriate conduct” on Dylan simply because I know in some organizations (I don’t know about Dylan’s school) that is a technical term with precise definition and qualifying criteria, just like the term “sexual harassment”, and I tend not to use it casually. It does not mean I conclude Dylan’s actions are completely appropriate.

    Heck, if Dylan himself said he need to change his behavior, who am I to argue?

  432. #432 SC OM
    May 16, 2010

    I also think whatever Dylan’s actions are, he himself considered them improper enough to agree to training/monitoring.

    But his petition says:

    Murphy has imposed a two-year period of intensive monitoring and counselling [?] on me, and as a result my application for tenure is likely to be denied.

    I am now campaigning to have the sanctions lifted.

    ***

    Heck, if Dylan himself said he need to change his behavior,

    Well, what he said was:

    I have no objections to submitting to the training and counseling mandated by you, nor to undergoing a period of monitoring and appraisal, particularly if this helps me to avoid inadvertently upsetting unduly sensitive colleagues in future.

  433. #433 superheadcat
    May 16, 2010

    Oops.

    Upon reading my post #431, I think I need to clarify: the first sentence was meant to mean I actually agree with Nerd of Redhead that “I see inappropriate behavior by Dr. Evans” (although I won’t use the same term). That is why I started my sentence “I also think…”
    Part of the reason I think so is that Dylan himself does not object to training/monitoring. And I wanted to express that in my first sentence.

    Now reading back, it did not come out right. (hey, English is not my native tongue)

    Hope this clears it up.

  434. #434 Ichthyic
    May 17, 2010

    I fucking hate it when people say “life isn’t fair” and use this as an argument for treating someone unfairly.

    waaaaaaah.

    time for you to start growing up if you want to be taken seriously, boy.

  435. #435 Ichthyic
    May 17, 2010

    Odd.

    not really.

    I would suggest Walton’s response is entirely predictable, given that we assume he is projecting angst about his own inappropriate behavior.

    I might have reacted the same way… 20 years ago.

    Still, like I said, if Walton wants me to take him seriously, he better stop whinging about unfairness so much.

    It’s the main reason I rarely pay any attention to anything he says any more.

  436. #436 dannystevens.myopenid.com
    May 17, 2010

    Aren’t we talking about adult professionals who deal with subjects of sex and sexuality as part of their work?

    Are we not also talking about a paper about the mating habits of bats? Not a topic usually considered shocking amongst university professors?

    Are other members of faculty as “clueless” as Dr Evans, in that they also go around conversing with colleagues in their offices and share papers that they find interesting or support points in their arguments?

    Wasn’t there a third person in the room when this “egregious” incident took place? That would suggest that Dr Evans was at least not clueless enough to talk to a female colleague alone (heaven forbid).

    And for this he is to have a note about sexual harassment on his sheet and be knocked out of tenure considerations? Even the counselling and monitoring is a bit of an imposition given its effect on his reputation, but that is not what he is concerned about.

    Yes, harassment requires a pattern of behaviour over time. A single egregious incident would be assault.

  437. #437 Joseph
    May 17, 2010

    At this point can we agree that whether or not the sexual harassment/inappropriate behaviour/lack of sensitivity angle is justifed, what is not at stake is academic freedom?

    Nowhere in all the documentation is there any indication that Evans is not free to pursue in his academic research the sexual activity of fruit bats or any other topic.

    His interest in the sex lives of bats may have come as a surprise to his colleagues given his current work at the school;
    “Research interests:
    DECISION MAKING: Dr Evans set up the Health Decision Making Research Group (HDMRG) in the School of Medicine at University College Cork to foster interdsciplinary collaborative research on decision making in health contexts. The HDMRG has recently launched an ambitious programme of research entitled Future Medical Decisions.

    GAMBLING: Expert gamblers seem to be less prone to the cognitive biases that affect most of us. As a result, they can think about risk more clearly. Dr Evans is interviewing expert gamblers to learn more about the way they think about risk.

    PREDICTION MARKETS: In 2008 Dr Evans teamed up with Intrade, the world’s leading prediction market company, to investigate possible uses of these markets to forecast key indicators of public health in Ireland.”

    http://www.ucc.ie/en/DepartmentsCentresandUnits/SchoolofMedicine/mededunit/academicstaff/dylanevans/

  438. #438 Walton
    May 17, 2010

    not really.

    I would suggest Walton’s response is entirely predictable, given that we assume he is projecting angst about his own inappropriate behavior.

    I might have reacted the same way… 20 years ago.

    Still, like I said, if Walton wants me to take him seriously, he better stop whinging about unfairness so much.

    Fuck you, Ichthyic. Why do you have to be such an arrogant, supercilious asshole?

    I am not “whinging about unfairness”. I just believe in fairness and want to build a better and fairer world. Clearly you don’t; that’s your problem and your failing, not mine.

    And no, for the record, I have never done anything remotely similar to the incident in question, nor been accused of such. This has zero to do with me personally, and it’s both offensive and a pathetic argumentative tactic for you to make such an allegation.

    Seriously, fuck off. I’ve made attempt after attempt to be nice and reasonable to you, and every single time you still act like an arrogant wanker.

  439. #439 maureen.brian#b5c92
    May 17, 2010

    I tell you what, guys, if a colleague was discussing a new piece of knowledge with others – however tangential it may be to his published work – and failing to discuss it with me because and only because I was a woman I would be SERIOUSLY MAD.

    Having been in such situations a couple of times – no bat sex involved, sadly – I know for a fact I would be mad.

    Besides, this is not a Victorian Ladies’ Finishing School: this is a School of Medicine, for fuck’s sake.

    Whatever happened to evidence-based decision making? I’m seeing an awful lot of projection and only a very rare sound point which can be firmly based on what we actually know for certain.

  440. #440 Walton
    May 17, 2010

    I should add to #438 that this is exclusively directed to Ichthyic – and is based on his long history of deliberately offensive and insulting remarks towards me personally, not just this thread. The attack is not aimed at anyone else.

    I’m nonetheless going to bow out of this thread now. I don’t need more emotional stress at the moment.

    I disagree with SC on this issue, but can respect her opinion and her reasons for that opinion.

  441. #441 Sigmund
    May 17, 2010

    He was clearly found guilty of sexual harrassment.
    This is based on two points.
    One.
    The panel found him guilty of making a joke with a possible sexual innuendo (the panel regarded the paper itself as “smutty” and so did not consider discussing it with a colleague as having a possible serious purpose.)

    Second.
    This act alone is defined by the University of Cork as sexual harrassment.

    “DEFINITIONS

    13. Sexual harassment is similarly defined as any act of physical intimacy, any request for sexual favours, or any other act or conduct (including spoken words, gestures or the production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other material), if the act, request or conduct is unwelcome to the recipient and could reasonably be regarded as sexually, or otherwise on the grounds of gender, offensive, humiliating or intimidating to the recipient.

    Common sexual harassing behaviour includes, but is not limited to:
    ? Verbal or physical advances
    ? Requesting sexual favours
    ? Asking about someone?s sexual preferences, fantasies or activities
    ? Repeatedly asking for a date after someone has expressed lack of interest
    ? Unwelcome patting, hugging or touching someone?s body, hair or clothing
    ? Making comments, jokes, sexual innuendo, displaying offensive material or
    computer pornography
    ? Making suggestive or sexual gestures, movements or facial expressions
    ? Making disparaging remarks to someone about their gender or body

    15. This policy will be interpreted with consideration of the fact that behaviour which is acceptable to one individual may be offensive to another.”

    In other words there are two separate possible grounds for finding Dr Evans guilty of sexual harassment.
    1. That his presentation of the paper mentioning bat sex to his colleague was done as a joke.
    and
    2. That his colleague found the subject in itself to be “offensive material”.

    The University policy in this matter is plain.
    Once Dr Dylan opened his mouth about a subject involving sex he became a hostage to fortune as to whether any other person employed by the University of Cork would find the subject offensive (and if they did then he is automatically deemed guilty of sexual harassment).

    This point above does not discuss the appropriateness of either the policy, the verdict of the panel or the ending of Dr Evans career (he might as well face it, once the accusation was made he was in a no win situation).

  442. #442 SC OM
    May 17, 2010

    Danny and Maureen, why don’t you try addressing the arguments that have been made? You could start, perhaps with Sven’s @ #391.

    And for this he is to have a note about sexual harassment on his sheet and be knocked out of tenure considerations?

    Evidence?

    Even the counselling and monitoring is a bit of an imposition given its effect on his reputation,

    Bizarre. It’s like people think that someone has a right to a perfect professional reputation even if they don’t act in such a way as to deserve it. The best way to avoid a record of inappropriate behavior is not to behave inappropriately. Anyway, the person making this all so public is Evans.

    but that is not what he is concerned about.

    Why do people keep saying this? That’s precisely what the petition is about.

    Yes, harassment requires a pattern of behaviour over time. A single egregious incident would be assault.

    Perhaps you missed where I asked for a reference to the section of the policy that says this. How would “Have sex with me and I’ll recommend you for the fellowship” constitute assault?

    I tell you what, guys, if a colleague was discussing a new piece of knowledge with others – however tangential it may be to his published work – and failing to discuss it with me because and only because I was a woman I would be SERIOUSLY MAD.

    Having been in such situations a couple of times – no bat sex involved, sadly – I know for a fact I would be mad.

    Besides, this is not a Victorian Ladies’ Finishing School: this is a School of Medicine, for fuck’s sake.

    If he had gone around circulating it to other men it would have been inappropriate as well. People go to work to work, and have a right to a workplace where people aren’t going around sharing materials about and discussing fellatio. If this were a department of physics, I can’t imagine anyone would be suggesting it would be remotely appropriate to be publicly circulating bat-sex articles, and the fact that they’re in a medical school doesn’t make it any more so. (I’ll add that even if you accept his claim about a discussion of human uniqueness in this particular case, this study really says nothing about that, and it was already long known that bonobos engaged in oral sex play. These researchers don’t know why the females do this. By the way, they found that the males all lick their own penises after copulation, presumably as grooming.)

  443. #443 maureen.brian#b5c92
    May 17, 2010

    A School of Medicine which, presumably, subscribes to any number of journals but where you can’t discuss sex with anyone at all? C’mon, Sigmund!

    I didn’t spend 50 years campaigning, raising awareness – my own and that of others – and running assertiveness courses so that we could all arrive back just where we were a century ago …..

    ….. with women students being banned from anatomy classes, the purpose and name of certain parts of a flower the cause of concern and a medical profession with could describe the plumbing perfectly well but had no idea how sexuality worked or that female sexuality existed at all.

    If Dr XXXX was not enjoying the ongoing conversation then it was her responsibility and hers alone to say so loud and clear, long before she was seriously rattled by it.

    “A senior administrator freaked out” =/= “guilty of persistent sexual harassment.”

    Anyway, I though one of the purposes of a university was to provide a home to bright people who can get over-excited about new knowledge or obsessed with arcane detail and put what would be an eccentricity in, say, banking to good use.

  444. #444 SalimR
    May 17, 2010

    Redaction should have been accomplished with more competence. I disagree with the idea the accused and/or accuser in any case (of adults) be allowed anonymity. The accused is, of course, Dylan Evans: http://www.ucc.ie/en/DepartmentsCentresandUnits/SchoolofMedicine/mededunit/academicstaff/dylanevans/ and the accuser, Rossana Kennedy: http://www.ucc.ie/en/DepartmentsCentresandUnits/SchoolofMedicine/mededunit/academicstaff/rosannekennedy/

  445. #445 SC OM
    May 17, 2010

    A School of Medicine which, presumably, subscribes to any number of journals but where you can’t discuss sex with anyone at all?

    Good grief. No response to the comments that have been made about this case, then? Disappointing.

    so that we could all arrive back just where we were a century ago …..

    ….. with women students being banned from anatomy classes, the purpose and name of certain parts of a flower the cause of concern and a medical profession with could describe the plumbing perfectly well but had no idea how sexuality worked or that female sexuality existed at all.

    Oh, get a grip. Obviously, discussions of human sexual behavior are appropriate when discussed professionally in relevant professional contexts. That isn’t what’s at issue here.

  446. #446 Sigmund
    May 17, 2010

    SC said;
    “If he had gone around circulating it to other men it would have been inappropriate as well. ”
    Not necessarily.
    According to the policy of the department in question the appropriateness of his actions depends on the feelings of the other individuals involved – so long as nobody takes offense then he is doing nothing inappropriate. If, however one individual considers discussion of animal sex offensive, then showing or mentioning the article to that person can be deemed sexual harassment.
    Its pretty much akin to the Irish Blasphemy legislation where the same remark can be either legal or illegal depending on the feelings of the individual accuser. In the case of the UCC policy however it doesn’t even give a benefit of a doubt since the policy says “This policy will be interpreted with consideration of the fact that behavior which is acceptable to one individual may be offensive to another.” – In other words any panel of ‘reasonable’ people who can find nothing wrong with a particular statement involving sex, is in a bind, since it is also reasonable to conclude that there are likely to be other individuals who would find it offensive (reasonably or not!)
    I suspect this is the reason for the specific wording of the panels adjudication on this matter.
    They found the complaint “falls within the definition of sexual harassment in the University’s Duty of Respect and Right to Dignity Policy (section 13)”
    Then again this definition is so all encompassing that any mention of sexuality – human or not – if claimed to be found offensive by one individual – is deemed sexual harassment.

  447. #447 Rorschach
    May 17, 2010

    @ 446,

    According to the policy of the department in question the appropriateness of his actions depends on the feelings of the other individuals involved – so long as nobody takes offense then he is doing nothing inappropriate.

    Problem with that is that you can’t tell beforehand whether someone will deem an action appropriate or not, or take offense or not.The confusing thing here is that by his account, the colleague did not seem to take offense at the time, or didn’t verbalise her offense.

    I still have a hard time however seeing how he did not show her this with some sort of suggestive intent in mind.

  448. #448 maureen.brian#b5c92
    May 17, 2010

    SC OM,

    I’m glad you see that your prescription (and Sigmund’s long copy and paste) mean that no-one can ever discuss sex with anyone at all, even in a School of Medicine.

    I am well out of touch but am taking it for granted that the journal in which this thing was published is a reputable one. It was therefore perfectly OK for him to have it in his hands and not entirely surprising that he would find it interesting. Even some physicists would find it so.

    On the basis of what we do know for certain, it is possible that Dr Evans had failed to realise that an ongoing discussion which he was finding amusing was no longer amusing to the other party. He would not be the first.

    But did Dr XXXX either punch him in the face or tell him to get lost. No, she hid behind the position of her husband and the freakiness of more senior management, she refused the less distressing means of resolving the matter and then she left town. I cannot believe that someone with a doctorate in something related to medicine has managed to preserve her intellectual virginity to the point that her life is ruined by one joke. And if it was more than one joke, why did she not act like the adult and the professional she is supposed to be?

    I cannot believe that Dr Evans is so terrifying that a grown woman cannot stand up to him.

    All we have for certain on the charge sheet is that he may – just may – be a bit of an idiot. If so, he’s not the only one! If that were a hanging offence we could solve the over-population problem at a stroke.

    I have no animus against you, SC, and I am not pulling rank when I say that as far as I can work out I am about twice your age. I have no problem with where you are trying to get to but may I gently remind you that in terms of equality for women some of the progress we have made thus far was because, at appropriate times, we were prepared to be rude, loud and crude.

    Fifty years ago you couldn’t get research on sexuality done. Sexual behavior as reported by the respondents, possibly, but the physiology and neurology no way because it believed there was nothing there to study. Erections and vaginismus, maybe, but after that – forget it.

    I shared a room at uni with a medic for a while. The key texts then were saying both that the only true orgasm was entirely vaginal and that there were few if any nerve ends in the vagina itself. It was also “common knowledge” that the female orgasm, if it existed at all, served no purpose whatsoever!

    We are not there yet but it took an awful lot of women saying out loud that their experience was different – where necessary saying it very explicitly and, as I remember, sometimes having to use the vernacular to be sure it registered on an unwilling audience – to get the subject of female, let alone gay, let alone bat sexuality on the agenda.

    Some research was finally done and, behold, we now have the papers in journals which describe how the neurological wiring of the clitoris goes along the outside of the vagina and some hope that we can persuade surgeons to stop slicing through it at their convenience “because there’s nothing there.”

    And that’s just one example. You campaign against FGM, as do I, and neither of us is afraid to use the medical evidence assembled in just a few decades to strengthen our case. If women had not stuck up for themselves – loud and proud – the papers we quote might never had existed.

  449. #449 SC OM
    May 17, 2010

    According to the policy of the department in question the appropriateness of his actions depends on the feelings of the other individuals involved – so long as nobody takes offense then he is doing nothing inappropriate.

    This is confused. Procedurally it may depend on a complaint being registered. But it refers to circulating computer pornography, for example; doing this could possibly be found to be inappropriate conduct if reported even if no one specifically complained about being offended. I don’t know if a complaint by an offended party has to be made to set an investigation in motion, but it’s not really relevant. You seem to be suggesting that if the policy requires a complaint then if no one complains the behavior isn’t inappropriate, but that’s silly. If it meets the reasonable person standard for violating the policy, then it’s inappropriate.

    If, however one individual considers discussion of animal sex offensive, then showing or mentioning the article to that person can be deemed sexual harassment.

    this definition is so all encompassing that any mention of sexuality – human or not – if claimed to be found offensive by one individual – is deemed sexual harassment.

    In other words any panel of ‘reasonable’ people who can find nothing wrong with a particular statement involving sex, is in a bind, since it is also reasonable to conclude that there are likely to be other individuals who would find it offensive (reasonably or not!)

    No. They appear to have a reasonable person standard. They say in the policy “could reasonably be regarded as…” They mention it in the report – that they found that it was reasonable for someone in this situation to find it “offensive, humiliating or intimidating.”

  450. #450 maureen.brian#b5c92
    May 17, 2010

    No.

    If I can discuss the two plates and multiple screws in my right leg with all and sundry then I can discuss sexuality with anyone I can reasonably expect to understand what is being discussed and who is in a position to tell me to get lost if he is bored or does not want to know.

    I would not, for instance, send 447 as a birthday letter to a seven-year-old child any more than I would circulate photos of abdominal surgery in progress over dinner. And that, I believe, is all that is at issue here – time, place, manner of the action. Not the action itself.

    If we women act as equals – surely possible within a university – then we have a better chance of being treated as equals. Of course, we first have to start thinking of ourselves as equals!

  451. #451 Sigmund
    May 17, 2010

    SC said
    “it refers to computer pornography”
    You are wrong.
    Read the relevant point again.

    “13. Sexual harassment is similarly defined as any act of physical intimacy, any request for sexual favours, or any other act or conduct (including spoken words, gestures or the production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other material), if the act, request or conduct is unwelcome to the recipient and could reasonably be regarded as sexually, or otherwise on the grounds of gender, offensive, humiliating or intimidating to the recipient.

    Common sexual harassing behaviour includes, but is not limited to:
    ? Verbal or physical advances
    ? Requesting sexual favours
    ? Asking about someone?s sexual preferences, fantasies or activities
    ? Repeatedly asking for a date after someone has expressed lack of interest
    ? Unwelcome patting, hugging or touching someone?s body, hair or clothing
    ? Making comments, jokes, sexual innuendo, displaying offensive material or
    computer pornography

    There’s more above but the last section is the appropriate one and it lists five different things that can be considered examples of common sexual harassing behavior.
    Some of these are pretty obvious – few of us would regard the viewing of internet porn or reading Hustler at your desk to be appropriate behavior and can be easily seen as offensive to many.
    Jokes, innuendo and making comments are in a gray area – some are pretty harmless and others not so, however in order to label someone a sexual harasser I would hope that the evidence is clear, which in this case it wasn’t.
    A post grad trying for a tenured position is in a very vulnerable position. This episode has effectively wrecked Dr Evans chances. Do you really feel secure that he did something so serious that his career should be ended?

  452. #452 SC OM
    May 17, 2010

    I’m glad you see that your prescription (and Sigmund’s long copy and paste) mean that no-one can ever discuss sex with anyone at all, even in a School of Medicine.

    This is just nuts. Why are you stubbornly refusing to address the above posts about this specific incident?

    I am well out of touch but am taking it for granted that the journal in which this thing was published is a reputable one. It was therefore perfectly OK for him to have it in his hands and not entirely surprising that he would find it interesting. Even some physicists would find it so.

    So what?

    On the basis of what we do know for certain, it is possible that Dr Evans had failed to realise that an ongoing discussion which he was finding amusing was no longer amusing to the other party. He would not be the first.

    What is wrong with you that you won’t address the posts above?

    But did Dr XXXX either punch him in the face or tell him to get lost.

    She should have punched him in the face? That would have been appropriate? I think you may be a bit too steeped in assertiveness training there, Maureen.

    No, she hid behind the position of her husband and the freakiness of more senior management, she refused the less distressing means of resolving the matter and then she left town.

    She went to the Head of School to complain, thus initiating an investigation. But this focus on her reaction (in the absence of much relevant context) is frankly strange. It doesn’t alter his actions. What’s freaky about following what appears to be a standard harassment policy?

    I cannot believe that someone with a doctorate in something related to medicine has managed to preserve her intellectual virginity to the point that her life is ruined by one joke. And if it was more than one joke, why did she not act like the adult and the professional she is supposed to be?

    What’s this about “intellectual virginity” and her life being ruined? She complained that her colleague behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner. This was upheld by the committee.

    I cannot believe that Dr Evans is so terrifying that a grown woman cannot stand up to him.

    She did – she filed a complaint.

    All we have for certain on the charge sheet is that he may – just may – be a bit of an idiot.

    No, we have more than that.

    If so, he’s not the only one!

    His cluelessness is the reason training and monitoring were recommended.

    If that were a hanging offence we could solve the over-population problem at a stroke.

    Since when do training and a probationary period constitute hanging?

    I have no animus against you, SC,

    Who cares?

    and I am not pulling rank when I say that as far as I can work out I am about twice your age.

    First, how would your age give you any rank here? Do we live in a gerontocracy? Second, I doubt that.

    I have no problem with where you are trying to get to

    I don’t know what you’re talking about. I think this is a reasonable policy and that he appears to have acted inappropriately.

    but may I gently remind you that in terms of equality for women some of the progress we have made thus far was because, at appropriate times, we were prepared to be rude, loud and crude.

    What is the relevance of this? Being assertive was necessary to get sexual harassment policies instituted, and is necessary to ensure they’re applied. The behavior is explicitly deemed inappropriate in policies and trainings and dealt with professionally so that individuals don’t have to constantly stand up against it on their own in what can be intimidating environments. It doesn’t mean they’re delicate. Are you suggesting that these policies and mechanisms should be scrapped? If not, I don’t see your point.

    Fifty years ago you couldn’t get research on sexuality done….

    And this all has what to do with this case?

    And that’s just one example. You campaign against FGM, as do I, and neither of us is afraid to use the medical evidence assembled in just a few decades to strengthen our case. If women had not stuck up for themselves – loud and proud – the papers we quote might never had existed.

    Do you have anything to say about this case at all? Seriously, this is just ridiculous. It doesn’t appear that any of the people involved work on sexuality, let alone the sexual behavior of fruit bats. It is not generally OK to go around your workplace presenting people with materials about fellatio, and this is a reasonable element of a policy. The academic context that would make the circulating of this specific article in the workplace appropriate does not appear to be there.

  453. #453 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 17, 2010

    This episode has effectively wrecked Dr Evans chances. Do you really feel secure that he did something so serious that his career should be ended?

    The only thing about the episode that appears to have effectively ended his career is the internet campaign to protest the findings and counseling. That, if I was an administrator, would end his career. If he followed instructions and kept clean, the incident could be ignored later providing his work as up to par or better. Now it can’t. And I wouldn’t want Dr. Evans as a colleague if he acts like a spoiled brat.

  454. #454 Sigmund
    May 17, 2010

    Nerd of Redhead,
    Can you give even a single example of someone who was convicted of sexual harassment and who subsequently went on to gain tenure at that University?
    I agree that his internet campaign is unlikely to do himself any favors in terms of his future employment and does mark him out as a troublemaker but you clearly understand nothing of the tenure process in Ireland. Dr Evans progress has been stopped dead in its tracks due to what the panel could only conclude was a joke which contained a sexual innuendo. Even denying him the benefit of the doubt here and accepting this interpretation of events would not a more appropriate action be to issue him a warning to be careful to adhere to the rules of the department rather than label him a sexual harasser?

  455. #455 SC OM
    May 17, 2010

    SC said

    “it refers to computer pornography”

    You are wrong.

    Read the relevant point again.

    OK.

    …displaying offensive material or
    computer pornography

    WTF? You’re blending together a bunch of issues.

    Jokes, innuendo and making comments are in a gray area – some are pretty harmless and others not so, however in order to label someone a sexual harasser

    To uphold a complaint, you mean.

    I would hope that the evidence is clear, which in this case it wasn’t.

    Way to fail to address multiple posts.

    A post grad trying for a tenured position is in a very vulnerable position.

    Yes, and you would expect a person in that position to be on his or her most professional behavior.

    This episode has effectively wrecked Dr Evans chances.

    No one has established that. If anything, as Ichthyic and Sven have suggested, his subsequent behavior has done far more damage. He could have handled it very differently and come out looking good.

    Do you really feel secure that he did something so serious that his career should be ended?

    On the basis of the evidence that we have, I think he behaved inappropriately and violated their policy and that training and a probationary period sound reasonable (especially in light of his continued cluelessness).

    If I can discuss the two plates and multiple screws in my right leg with all and sundry then I can discuss sexuality with anyone I can reasonably expect to understand what is being discussed and who is in a position to tell me to get lost if he is bored or does not want to know.

    Well you can’t in many situations in any workplace I’ve ever been in. And policies and reporting mechanisms exist because people often aren’t cognizant of the exact position others are in. So if you do decide to make up your own rules, you should be aware that you’re opening yourself up to administrative consequences.

  456. #456 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 17, 2010

    Can you give even a single example of someone who was convicted of sexual harassment and who subsequently went on to gain tenure at that University?

    This is irrelevant. He either submits to the punishment laid out, or he effectively must resign and go elsewhere. That is his choices. His attempt at a third option through the internet petition effectively sealed his fate. And I thought he hadn’t been deemed a harasser, but rather of engaging in inappropriate behavior, something lesser that could, with no more complaints, be swept under the rug at tenure time, providing his work was better than normal. Which is why he needs counseling. I don’t feel for Dr. Evans. He shot himself in the foot, and now must live with the consequences, just like any adult. He doesn’t appear to be one as far as responsibility goes, but rather one in age only.

    He needs to work on his resume/CV.

  457. #457 Sigmund
    May 17, 2010

    SC said;
    “WTF? You’re blending together a bunch of issues.”
    Not me. I posted the policy verbatim. That is the actual wording of the UCC policy.
    It IS a blend of different issues.

  458. #458 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 17, 2010

    Ken #193

    Yes, I’m a big believer in the marketplace of ideas being a better resolution to disagreements than the justice system.

    The marketplace of ideas is where concepts are introduced and discussed. This blog is part of that marketplace. However the presentation of ideas may be annoying, upsetting or insulting to others. I won’t discuss sexual harassment other than to point out it usually has nothing to do with introducing someone to a new idea but rather to harass them. That’s why it’s called sexual harassment.

    If I were to write a letter to your boss accusing you of embezzling money from your company, you would probably get annoyed. This annoyance would be particularly great if you weren’t embezzling money. So what’s your recourse then? The old schoolyard chant about sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me is nonsense. Words can hurt you and there should be some way to protect yourself from these sorts of words and to get redress if they’re uttered.

    That’s why I thought that Simon Singh should be allowed to state his case against homeopathy in an open academic environment rather than have the court system decide which side was correct.

    First, Singh wasn’t castigating homeopathy but rather chiropractic. But that’s a quibble. He wasn’t being rude to chiropractors in an academic environment but in a newspaper article.

    Earlier on this blog we’ve discussed the strict English libel laws. It was the general consensus that these laws need to be relaxed, but nobody called for their outright abolishment. If you are wronged then you should be able to right that wrong.

    Speech needs to have some pretty serious direct harm before I would consider having the government, in the form of the courts, decide what should and shouldn’t be censored. In academia I think the standards need to be even looser.

    The courts weren’t brought into this case. However if Dr. Evans feels President Murphy’s actions were inappropriate, then Evans should have the opportunity to present his objections to an outside organization, i.e., the courts. That’s what they’re there for.

  459. #459 SC OM
    May 17, 2010

    Not me. I posted the policy verbatim.

    That is the actual wording of the UCC policy.

    Which, as I said, does refer to computer pornography.

    It IS a blend of different issues.

    What? I was responding to your suggestion that if no individual comes forward to complain, then no one has done anything inappropriate. There are two ways of reading this: 1) If no one complains, then there can’t be a finding of harassment because an individual complaint is required to set the process in motion. This is possible, though as I said – and this is why I brought up computer pornography – it seems plausible that if this were simply reported it would be enough to set things in motion. (This would be in keeping with current policies which address the creation of a hostile work environment in a more general way.) 2) If no one complains of personal offense, there has been no inappropriate behavior, and this is what’s implied in the policy. I don’t think so, again, because they apply a reasonable person standard, so they appear theoretically to recognize inappropriate behavior in the absence of a personal complaint. But there was a complaint in this case and it was upheld according to the reasonable person standard, so I don’t see why this is relevant.

    Your argument seems to have been that according to the policy if no one complains that an action was offensive, humiliating, or intimidating then it can’t be, and conversely that if someone does complain then under the policy they must consider it harassment. This is incorrect (and silly – why would they have an investigation?). They use a reasonable person standard.

    Some of these are pretty obvious – few of us would regard the viewing of internet porn or reading Hustler at your desk to be appropriate behavior and can be easily seen as offensive to many.

    I don’t actually think those are obvious. What you do in your office alone and with the door closed wouldn’t obviously be a problem. And there are many academic situations in which there would be compelling reason to be viewing or even distributing porn – if that’s a shared research area or there was a conference about it or whatever. Of course, you should be careful and take appropriate measures to ensure that you’re not exposing people to it in improper and unwanted ways, possibly seeking advice from the appropriate people in the organization preliminarily.

  460. #460 Bernard Bumner
    May 17, 2010

    I think it would be hard to argue that anybody comes out of this covered in glory, on the basis of the facts as presented here.

    The length and severity of the sanction may well be disproportionate, given that only a minor element of the complaint was upheld. The Investigators’ report would also seem to suggest that there are inconsistencies in the statements given by both parties that may well be indicative of misunderstanding, at least to a point that President’s own interpretation of the findings might be unduly cautious.

    Dr Evans may well have acted innappropriately. However, it strikes me that both his own initial behaviour, reaction to the report, and the earlier reaction of his colleague may all point to a lack of good, clear guidance and training around workplace behaviour. If a harrassment problem exists (real of percieved), then it will always be more successfully resolved and to the greater satisfaction of all concerned, if it is brought to the attention of and monitored by line managers at an early stage. If the problem was as his colleague described (although it was disputed by Dr Evans, and accepted by the Investigators that this was not the case), then they have acted poorly in the way that they dealt with the problem.

    Dr Evans has certainly acted innappropriately in his response to the matter, because this kind of web campaign will not help. This is particularly so in such a case as this, because the potential for identification of the complainant makes the fallout so much the greater. He surely has the right to request that the matter does become a fullblown disciplinary case if he wishes to dispute actions of the President and the findings of the report. In doing so, he would also be allowed all of the rights of fair defense and appeal that follow. As it is, it seems only that he has decided to appeal to the court of popular opinion because he didn’t get the answer he liked (presumably, riding on the back of the recent interest and support for freedom of academic enquiry).

  461. #461 maureen.brian#b5c92
    May 17, 2010

    SC,

    Either there was one incident in which case it is possible that what happened next is an over-reaction or there was a pattern of behaviour, constituting sexual harassment. I wish you would make up your mind.

    I know we don’t live in a a gerontocracy! Different generations do, though, have different experiences and different challenges to address. That’s all.

    I see above me a very few established facts, some of which are open to interpretation. In addition, other possible facts where either the stories don’t quite match or only one account is given.

    On top of that I see an awful lot of speculation, quite a bit of it ideologically driven, interspersed with quite gratuitous venom.

    You wouldn’t want me to leave here thinking that no-one on the planet except yourself has ever had a valid experience, now would you?

  462. #462 Antiochus Epiphanes
    May 17, 2010

    My wife just finished teaching a grad seminar on sexual selection. I hope that she isn’t brought up on charges of sexual harassment. Being forced to view at all of those pictures of moth genitalia sounds like harassment to me.

  463. #463 Sigmund
    May 17, 2010

    maureen.brian#b5c92 said:
    “Either there was one incident in which case it is possible that what happened next is an over-reaction or there was a pattern of behaviour, constituting sexual harassment.”
    In the case of the University of Cork a pattern of behavior is not required, a single incident is defined as constituting sexual harassment according to their guidelines.

  464. #464 SC OM
    May 17, 2010

    32. All aspects of the investigation, including the report and findings, must be treated as confidential by all parties concerned.

    …34. Those involved in interpreting, administering, and applying this policy will use a ‘reasonable person’ standard; that is to say, whether a person in the same position as the Complainant and of the same Relevant Characteristics as the Complainant would reasonably judge harassment or bullying to have occurred as a result of a given behaviour or pattern of behaviour.

    …36. In some circumstances, the use of disciplinary procedures may be inappropriate. The outcome of such cases may be a recommendation to engage in training, counselling and/or a period of monitoring and appraisal. Should the period of appraisal not be satisfactory, the Disciplinary Procedure may then be invoked.

    This last appears significant. Verbal and written warnings are disciplinary procedures there, and are seen as more serious (and entering a specific chain of responses) than training/counseling(and we don’t know what this consists of, but I doubt it’s that elaborate)/monitoring. In the case even of the disciplinary procedures, the lower-level warnings aren’t put in the personnel file or are removed after a couple of years if there’s no further problem. There isn’t any indication that training/monitoring is recorded in the personnel file, and it looks like it’s all supposed to be confidential. (Looks like he could now potentially be subject to disciplinary action, though, for revealing confidential documents on youtube and his site.)

    Either there was one incident in which case it is possible that what happened next is an over-reaction

    That isn’t what the investigators found, though.

    or there was a pattern of behaviour, constituting sexual harassment. I wish you would make up your mind.

    What are you talking about? The complaint of ongoing behavior couldn’t be upheld because the complainant acknowledged that she wasn’t sufficiently assertive in making her discomfort known. The complaint regarding this behavior was upheld, and the policy explicitly refers to “a given behaviour or pattern of behaviour” as potentially constituting harassment.

    I see above me a very few established facts, some of which are open to interpretation. In addition, other possible facts where either the stories don’t quite match or only one account is given.

    On the basis of the established facts, it appears that he violated the policy, which is what the investigators found, despite his claim that they exonerated him. But you haven’t addressed any of the specific comments that have been made about this specific case – just repeated the line about how sexual harassment policies mean no one can talk about sex ever for any reason, which is rubbish.

    You wouldn’t want me to leave here thinking that no-one on the planet except yourself has ever had a valid experience, now would you?

    I honestly have no idea what you’re on about, Maureen.

    My wife just finished teaching a grad seminar on sexual selection. I hope that she isn’t brought up on charges of sexual harassment. Being forced to view at all of those pictures of moth genitalia sounds like harassment to me.

    More absurdity.

  465. #465 maureen.brian#b5c92
    May 17, 2010

    Thanks, Sigmund, that sheds some light on things.

    I think I asked yesterday about who wrote the policy. If a single incident which does not involve assault or inappropriate touching can constitute harassment AND the definition of harassment is solely “did I choose to take offence?” rather than the reasonable person notion then someone dug an elephant trap.

    Dr Evans fell in.

    Thanks, anyway.

  466. #466 SC OM
    May 17, 2010

    If…the definition of harassment is solely “did I choose to take offence?” rather than the reasonable person notion

    It explicitly is not.

  467. #467 Carlie
    May 17, 2010

    Can you give even a single example of someone who was convicted of sexual harassment and who subsequently went on to gain tenure at that University?

    But he wasn’t convicted. He was found mostly innocent, with enough troubling aspects to make counseling a desirable option. I could see him trying to argue down the length of the counseling, perhaps on advice of a lawyer; for example, if the first two reports show marked improvement and understanding, then it could be considered completed.

    As for whether this ought to tarnish his job prospects or not, there’s nothing sacred about having gotten an academic appointment in the first place. The fact that he yelled accusations of “academic freedom” both in this case and in a much prior case where he literally lied about what someone’s views were (according to the Brown article) indicates that he doesn’t understand academic freedom, which itself indicates that he might have a lot of trouble being an academician. There are an awful lot of new graduates in his field who might be much better colleagues in addition to doing good research – if he’s unapologetic about creeping out his colleagues and say that it’s their fault for being oversensitive, then maybe he’s not a good fit for that institution. It’s their call. Likewise, if the accuser is the kind to try and undermine people any time she thinks her marriage is threatened, as has been claimed, that would also figure into her tenure decision.

  468. #468 SC OM
    May 17, 2010

    I could see him trying to argue down the length of the counseling,

    I’m really not convinced that this is anything that elaborate. I think it’s two years’ probation and also training/counseling of some sort; I would be very surprised if it were two years of training/counseling. I could be wrong, though.

  469. #469 SC OM
    May 17, 2010

    OK, one more comment. This is what Evans said in his response to the complaint:

    It is true that I showed the complainant the paper she refers to on 2 November 2009. I did this without any premeditation, simply because I was reading the paper when walking by her office and thought she might find it interesting.

    No mention of:

    I had been engaged in an ongoing debate with the colleague in question about the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour, and in particular about the dubiousness of many claims for human uniqueness. I showed it the colleague in the context of this discussion,

  470. #470 Escherichia coli
    May 17, 2010

    Hmm, didn’t someone point out above that it’s not the probation or training that Evans is petitioning against, but the president’s conclusion that he sexually harassed his colleague?

  471. #471 Joseph
    May 17, 2010

    The website of the university now has the following statement:
    “Statement from University College Cork
    17.05.2010
    University College Cork views with the utmost gravity the fact that confidential documentation concerning an internal allegation of sexual harassment, including the report of a formal investigation, conducted by experienced senior external investigators, was posted to various social media platforms, in contravention of University policy and well-established procedure.

    It is imperative, in the interests of fairness to all sides involved, and for such procedures to work effectively, that the University and the parties to procedures of this nature, maintain the confidentiality that governs them. Failure to do so, impinges on the rights of staff who feel it necessary to lodge a complaint against a fellow staff member. The rights of staff who may wish to take similar action in future or defend themselves against such allegations, would also be affected, were confidentiality to be broken in such a manner. There are, therefore, serious consequences for the University and for its policy on Duty of Respect and Right to Dignity in the workplace.

    The University has a duty of care to both parties in a dispute and well established policies and procedures that are fully compliant with Irish law and supported and approved by the Governing Body of the University. In the interests of upholding the principle of confidentiality and in fairness to both sides, the University feels it would not be appropriate to comment further. “

  472. #472 Sven DiMilo
    May 17, 2010

    What now fascinates me most about this case is the fact that so many otherwise skeptical people–our esteemed host and ECO included–just bought in instantly to Evans’s self-serving post hoc spin.

    The complainant (whose identity is now, extremely unfortunately in my view, public knowledge–as a direct result of Evans’s posting explicitly confidential correspondence on the web and then blabbing more details here in this thread) complained.
    Why did she complain?
    Because (byzantine soap-opera hypotheses involving the husband’s secretary’s boyfriend notwithstanding), according to the original complaint and the report of the official investigation occasioned by the complaint (both examples of the confidential correspondence mentioned above), Evans creeped her out in a sexual way. According to the complaint and report, she felt squicked on numerous occasions, notably including the now notorious Showing of the fruitbat-fellatio article on 2 Nov.

    Why had she not complained before, not even to Evans directly?
    Nobody knows but her, her husband, and perhaps the investigators that interviewed her. Was she also pre-tenure junior faculty? If so, she may have had a better understanding than Evans about the importance of collegiality and team-play to academic careers. Securing another position elsewhere would have obviated those considerations. Plus cultural and /or personal issues or reasons, who knows? Since the complaint was upheld by the investigation, the complainant’s motivations for complaining and/or delaying complaint are moot.

    As for the inappropriateness or not of the Showing, since there is disagreement even about whether or not somebody else was in the room at the time, I’m doubtful that we know what was said. Evans’s story changes. Clearly it wasn’t along the lines of “check out this fruitbat’s dick you’d like to lick that huh baby,” but it also wasn’t “say, Dr. X, the latest issue of PLoS includes an article that seems pertinent to the issue of human exceptionalism we were discussing after yesterday’s seminar.” The complaint suggests something ostensibly neutral like “what do you think of this?” Whatever. Presumably the investigators that upheld the complaint were privy to more detailed accounts from both parties.

    What was her reaction? Evans says she “laughed openly” (although he also insists elsewhere that, contra the official report, the article was not presented as a ‘joke’) and asked for a copy of the article. The complaint says she was squicked and made an excuse about glasses and reading it later to get the guy out of her office.
    These accounts are compatible if Evans was completely clueless about the complainant’s perception of his behavior, as seems to have been the case.

    Note that both Evans and the complainant say that he left the copy of the article he was carrying with her. That means that either he had already Shown the article to over a dozen other colleagues, or that he then printed out another copy so that he could continue to Show it.

    The article is titled “Fellatio by fruitbats prolongs copulation time.” It is about penis-licking in a Chinese bat species. The article has nothing to do with human evolution or behavior, nothing to do with sex-for-pleasure-instead-of-reproduction, nothing to do with Evans’s professional interests or research, and nothing to do with the professional interests or research of any of the 13+ colleagues to whom it was Shown.

    What, then was so interesting about the article to Dr. Evans, as to inspire him to print out a copy (it’s an online journal) and take it around to 13+ people to Show? I have to suspect that he was playing it for sexual-association laffs. It doesn’t matter whether blowjobs were mentioned or eyebrows were waggled; it was the precise equivalent of circulating a boderline-misogynistic dirty joke. It’s just not cool, even/especially at an academic workplace.

    Given the contents of the official report, the President chose the least-punitive option available. Unspecified counseling and four letters that don’t even go into the permanent file? He was trying to make the whole thing go away as quietly and uncontroversially as possible.

    In response, Evans has continued to deny any wrongdoing, has blown the lid wide open by posting poorly-redacted officially confidential correspondence–of others, not just his own–under the banner of ‘fruitbatgate’, and is trolling You-Tube for random signatures on an internet petition–here; read it–to lift the ‘sanctions’ and clear his name in the name of Academic Freedom and the Principle of Free Debate!!!

    He’s a clueless nut.
    And people are being suckered by his clueless nutty bullshit.

  473. #473 Sigmund
    May 17, 2010

    Carlie said:
    “But he wasn’t convicted.”
    If you read the letter from the University President you will see it clearly stated that he was indeed found guilty of sexual harassment.
    There’s nothing sacred about getting an acedemic appointment? Indeed. In fact there’s nothing sacred about anything. There’s nothing sacred about being a medic or lawyer either and like being a tenured post doc both of these occupations require years of expensive training and dedication.
    For me Dr Evans doesn’t come across very well. He was clearly insensitive about this particular colleague. The panel found him guilty of unintentionally causing offense to someone and that was enough to have him labeled a sexual harasser requiring two years of counseling. I would suggest that the policy itself is flawed if a single unintentional incident is sufficient for this result.

  474. #474 SC OM
    May 17, 2010

    Hmm, didn’t someone point out above that it’s not the probation or training that Evans is petitioning against,

    Which is strange given that this is in fact literally what he’s petitioning against.

    If you read the letter from the University President you will see it clearly stated that he was indeed found guilty of sexual harassment.

    “Convicted” here I think refers to being found guilty in a criminal court of law. Is it different in Ireland?

    The panel found him guilty of unintentionally causing offense to someone

    They upheld the complaint, finding that he violated policy.

    and that was enough to have him labeled a sexual harasser

    Where is this?

    requiring two years of counseling.

    Where is this? (Did you read my post @ #464?)

    ***

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/05/fruit-bat-sex-chat-prompts-sexua.html

  475. #475 Ichthyic
    May 17, 2010

    I disagree with the idea the accused and/or accuser in any case (of adults) be allowed anonymity.

    that’s curious.

    why?

    I rather think debate over policy issues would go forward more appropriately if indeed the parties involved in generating it were indeed anonymous.

    what specific value do you see in trying to publicize their identities?

  476. #476 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 17, 2010

    I would suggest that the policy itself is flawed if a single unintentional incident is sufficient for this result.

    Sorry, you don’t get it, and I think you are being deliberately stoopid, just like any misogynist. Sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior, unless it is a clear cut case of a single act of physical contact, usually (99% of the time) is based on a pattern of behavior, making the victim uncomfortable. One incident will trigger the reporting, but a pattern is almost invariably there. This pattern by Dr. Evans, I gather, was in the reports. Not a single incident, but rather repeated incidences, hence the counseling and reporting.

  477. #477 Ichthyic
    May 17, 2010

    The academic context that would make the circulating of this specific article in the workplace appropriate does not appear to be there.

    the only context I perceived was that it was part of an ongoing private debate within the department over human exceptionalism.

    It’s why I picture him, not as a sexual harasser, but as a clueless git running about with article in hand proclaiming his “gotchya!” moment without even bothering to consider not only the level of irritation that approach would engender, but any other potential consequences as well, including a perception of sexual harassment.

    Frankly:

    one, I’m not convinced the article is even relevant to human exceptionalism, so he made a technical error right there

    two, he made a mistake in deciding to play an immature game of “gotchya” with his fellow dept. members.

    three, rather than smacking himself in the head and realizing what a goon he just made of himself, even AFTER he was approached by investigators, and working his hardest to try and make amends, he instead screams “persecution!” and tries the whole thing publicly via the internet.

    I shake my head sadly at his predicament, but I don’t really find too much fault with his colleagues, or the uni’s response, which was, based on their own protocols, rather tame.

    I think a lot of people complaining about this seem to think tenure is a guarantee based simply on performance, but it simply ain’t so. Garnering tenure is as much a political process as an academic one, and failure to realize that is the death knell of many a promising career.

    As to those who say: “Well, that’s not the way it SHOULD be”. I say: “You don’t have to live with the consequences, frankly.”

    example (my favorite):

    Jonathan Wells.

    Perfectly adequate (for his dept, anyway) thesis work accomplished. Degree granted.

    for those that know him, and what he stands for, would you be wanting to grant him tenure in your dept?

    no?

    then if you say you really want a purely performance based appraisal of tenure, you might want to rethink.

  478. #478 SC OM
    May 17, 2010

    the only context I perceived was that it was part of an ongoing private debate within the department over human exceptionalism.

    It’s why I picture him, not as a sexual harasser, but as a clueless git running about with article in hand proclaiming his “gotchya!” moment without even bothering to consider not only the level of irritation that approach would engender, but any other potential consequences as well, including a perception of sexual harassment.

    Yeah, I’m not quite buying it. It’s possible that such a general debate existed involving a large number of people, but he hasn’t even really claimed that. He’s only talked about a debate with this one colleague, and, in addition to this article speaking to such a debate being a stretch, it looks increasingly like he added in this alleged context later in an attempt to shoehorn this into a supposed academic freedom framework. When I looked again at his first letter, he didn’t even mention it, and it certainly would have been a very pertinent and potentially partially-disculpatory* element of the context; he described it differently. Also, he said above

    There are broader issues of academic freedom at stake here. If we cannot discuss scientific articles about topics directly related to our own research, published in leading peer-reviewed international journals, with colleagues in the same department, this bodes very ill for informed enquiry and debate.

    It is not the case that this was directly related to any of their research, a claim he’s making and a belief of which he isn’t disabusing others. I don’t really find him trustworthy concerning these events. Everything I read contains more misleading statements, like that the president “imposed a two-year period of intensive monitoring and counselling” on him. He now seems to be telling reporters (if their accounts are correct) that he didn’t reveal the documents, but they were on his Facebook page and YouTube channel. So it’s possible that there was such a debate, and that’s what my questions were mainly about, but I think Sven’s interpretation is probably closer to the truth.

    *Although if he’s constantly drumming up discussions of sexual behavior with colleagues that might be a problem, too. I mean, it’s not what they work on, and the fact that sex might be someone’s personal hobby-horse doesn’t give the person carte blanche to be bombarding people with it in the workplace.

  479. #479 Ichthyic
    May 17, 2010

    Also, he said above

    yeah, I figured that part was mostly post hoc bullshit.

    I just found the idea that there was a private discussion of exceptionalism, especially in a medical dept, plausible.

    especially given what I have heard many med students and doctors say myself over the years…

    *shakes head at thought of Egnor*

  480. #480 SC OM
    May 17, 2010

    I just found the idea that there was a private discussion of exceptionalism, especially in a medical dept, plausible.

    So did I. Or, also plausibly, him harping on “the relevance of evolutionary biology to human behaviour.” Even if there had been any discussion of this, the very broad topic could be used as a pretext for going around showing people a sex article at least as plausibly as the “gotcha” scenario. But again, at this point I’m not inclined to believe his account.

  481. #481 echidna
    May 17, 2010

    Joseph@471: I think Evans just lost the sympathy of the University by publishing those letters.

  482. #482 Sven DiMilo
    May 17, 2010

    I think PZ made the wrong call on this one, but apart from that I’m a little concerned for his sake that his post still includes a link to what we now know are improperly leaked confidential documents, and also that this thread contains a comment that purports to identify the complainant by name. Neither of these things should have happened.

  483. #483 echidna
    May 17, 2010

    Sven@482: I think you are right.

    My take on this is that Evans has certainly acted inappropriately by publishing the letters alone. Otherwise, it’s a balancing act between academic freedom and a non-hostile workplace, which is not so clear from the info we have.

    The thing that bugs me about all of Dylan’s comments is that, although he claims that the article addressed a point in an ongoing debate, at no stage, even on this science blog, does he actually give any detail about the debate, what the arguments were and what point the article addressed. I’m not sure the “debate” existed, except as a post-hoc rationalisation.

  484. #484 Sven DiMilo
    May 17, 2010
  485. #485 SC OM
    May 17, 2010

    Neither of these things should have happened.

    I agree. When I asked for a repost of information from his Facebook page, it didn’t occur to me that these would be confidential documents. I think the alleged name of the complainant at least should be removed.

    ***

    I’m not sure the “debate” existed, except as a post-hoc rationalisation.

    His response to the complaint:

    It is true that I showed the complainant the paper she refers to on 2 November 2009. I did this without any premeditation, simply because I was reading the paper when walking by her office and thought she might find it interesting.

    His post here @ #101:

    On 2 November 2009, I was reading the paper when walking by her office and it occurred to me that this was another refutation of human exceptionalism, so I knocked on her office door to show her the article.

  486. #486 Ichthyic
    May 17, 2010

    Aw jeez…look at all this
    and all this

    *sigh*

    Is this the new way of dealing with social issues in the workplace?

  487. #487 Ichthyic
    May 17, 2010

    maybe we should extend the debate a bit?

    I’m curious as to what people think of the approach Dylan has taken to this issue. It’s becoming more common, but is it productive at all?

  488. #488 Fishkiller
    May 17, 2010

    SC OM,
    I am impressed with your BS detector and your continuing to call out Pr. Evans through the whole of the almost 500 comments. I tried to sway you at one point myself, but as information continued to be revealed and I reflected on both the info and the actions of Pr. Evans, my position changed. As a male it is scary to think that almost any mention of sex to a colleague could get you a sexual harassment citation. Especially in the situation that Pr. Evans led us to believe had happened. As we move along it appears that a lot of that situation was either misremembered or deliberately changed by Pr. Evans. I still think that my main point is valid, that someone who is offending should be told what they are doing is offensive, but I also think that that is what happened here. Dr. XXXX chose to tell through her superiors instead of to Pr. Evans. If he had followed the procedure and allowed the training and reports to happen this probably would have gone away simply. As it is, there is now a huge issue that will follow him forever, whatever his initial intent. I will continue to lurk, but as someone who posts hardly ever, it is impressive to see someone with an OM continue to earn it. Well done.

  489. #489 Mattir
    May 17, 2010

    As a male it is scary to think that almost any mention of sex to a colleague could get you a sexual harassment citation.

    It certainly could if you are a total oblivious alpha-male fool with no sense of how other people are responding to your behavior. On the other hand, if you’re a fairly normal guy who can tell when people are skeeved out, it’s pretty unlikely. I suspect that few or none of the people on this list who showed the bat sex article around are going to be hauled up on sexual harassment charges.

    Oh, and when you’re called on iffy behavior, don’t get the entire planet involved in your pissing contest.

  490. #490 Sigmund
    May 18, 2010

    Nerd of Redhead said:
    “Sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior, unless it is a clear cut case of a single act of physical contact, usually (99% of the time) is based on a pattern of behavior, making the victim uncomfortable. One incident will trigger the reporting, but a pattern is almost invariably there. This pattern by Dr. Evans, I gather, was in the reports. Not a single incident, but rather repeated incidences, hence the counseling and reporting. ”

    Have you even read the report of the investigating panel? You seem to be drawing all your conclusions from the accusations made against Evans rather than the actual results of the panels investigation.
    They LOOKED for a pattern of behavior and could not find one. They found him guilty of a single incidence of causing offense and accepted that this had been unintentional. While in most places sexual harassment is defined as a pattern of behavior that is not the case for the University of Cork where a single incident is sufficient, intentional or not.

  491. #491 Rorschach
    May 18, 2010

    I’m curious as to what people think of the approach Dylan has taken to this issue. It’s becoming more common, but is it productive at all?

    “Unprofessional” comes to mind, or “shooting oneself in the foot” .
    What is the point in seeking vindication from strangers on the internet ? I just don’t get it.

  492. #492 echidna
    May 18, 2010

    SC OM@485,
    The inconsistencies in his responses are a give-away, aren’t they?

    Rorschach: “shooting oneself in the foot” – indeed.

  493. #493 Carlie
    May 18, 2010

    They LOOKED for a pattern of behavior and could not find one.

    What they FOUND was that they could not establish a pattern, as the complainant admitted that she had not reported prior incidents. Potentially big difference.

  494. #494 Bernard Bumner
    May 18, 2010

    What they FOUND was that they could not establish a pattern, as the complainant admitted that she had not reported prior incidents. Potentially big difference.

    Well, we also can’t assume that there probably was such a pattern. The report states that there was contradictory evidence from both sides. I think that debate over the rights and wrongs risks people becoming entrenched in their own narratives.

    What is more important in the wider context is that this kind of web campaign is entirely innappropriate in a case such as this, and even those sympathetic to Evans should be offering that advice, rather than wading into a situation of which they have too little knowledge to really judge.

  495. #495 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 18, 2010

    What they FOUND was that they could not establish a pattern, as the complainant admitted that she had not reported prior incidents. Potentially big difference.

    The complainant reported the pattern of behavior, but didn’t have the times/places documented. In these cases, that is often the case. So, to the causal or misogynist observer this appears to be one incident, rather than the triggering incident. And yes, at our site HR conducts yearly training in this subject, which you appear to not have a clue about. These cases are almost never over a single incident. Dr. Evans appears to be a clueless idjit, and this internet campaign sealed his fate. He had better be working on his CV.

  496. #496 Sigmund
    May 18, 2010

    “What they FOUND was that they could not establish a pattern, as the complainant admitted that she had not reported prior incidents. Potentially big difference.”
    She reported all the incidents at the same time and they investigated each of them. Some of the previous incidents were in situations where it should be relatively easy to get corroborating evidence since there were witnesses present, yet the only evidence the investigating panel seem to have confidence in was described as casting “serious doubt on some of the evidence of Dr X”(the accuser). In other words they thought she was telling lies about at least one of the previous incidents.
    The biggest impression I get about the divide on this issue is that many people are jumping to the conclusion that there is no smoke without fire.
    He was accused of sexual harassment and he admits distributing an article about bat sex. If those are the criteria then that puts him in the same category as PZ Myers.
    The evidence in this case seems to make little difference to many who have decided on a verdict and are sticking to it no matter what.
    NOBODY comes out of this incident smelling of roses. I haven’t signed the petition since it’s clearly not a case of academic freedom. The accuser seems to have told lies about some of the accusations and the University President has decided to apply a letter of the law punishment based on a rather flawed policy document that leaves no process for appeal and then attempted to silence the parties who might feel hard done by.
    I would make a suggestion that we need a witness statement from the colleague of the accuser who was in the room at the time Evans brought the manuscript. I am surprised that the investigators failed to obtain get such a statement since it goes straight to the heart of the matter.

  497. #497 Bernard Bumner
    May 18, 2010

    In other words they thought she was telling lies about at least one of the previous incidents.

    That is the strongest possible reading of such a statement which is itself also not inconsistent with someone giving a flawed recollection.

    The biggest impression I get about the divide on this issue is that many people are jumping to the conclusion that there is no smoke without fire.
    He was accused of sexual harassment and he admits distributing an article about bat sex. If those are the criteria then that puts him in the same category as PZ Myers.

    The complaint was much wider than that, even though the independent investigation did not uphold the broader complaint. I’m not sure whether that investigation is necessarily binding under university policy or Irish law, and whether that represents the full extent of the investigation. You are also drawing conclusions from a very limited set of facts, and should be very cautious in doing so.

    As it is, you are making very strong statements which seem to suggest that you think you are able to form a rounded opinion of the case.

    …the University President has decided to apply a letter of the law punishment based on a rather flawed policy document that leaves no process for appeal and then attempted to silence the parties who might feel hard done by.

    Whatever you may think about the fairness of the sanctions, there is a process for appeal. Evans could ask to initiate full disciplinary proceedings, and all of the rights and protection that such procedures guarantee.

    I would make a suggestion that we need a witness statement from the colleague of the accuser who was in the room at the time Evans brought the manuscript.

    I would make the suuggestion that we need nothing, but that Evans should properly follow procedure if he feels wronged. His actions up to this point are foolish, at best.

  498. #498 Louis
    May 18, 2010

    Whatever else is true about this case (if it isn’t an experiment), the internet petition, accidentally-on-purpose leaking of private documents, and general outing-butr-oh-no-not-really-outing of the complainant by Evans (or his appointed chums) are hallmarks of douchebaggery.

    This alone makes me very reluctant to treat his other (apparently self contradictory) testimony at face value. If this isn’t some elaborate game/experiment then he is attention whoring for all he is worth. This can only end in a gritty rap battle on YouTube*. You read it here first.

    Louis

    *Or Evans’ dismissal, and possibly charges against whoever released these documents (prob. Evans) for breaching confidentiality agreements should they exist.

  499. #499 Sven DiMilo
    May 18, 2010

    many people are jumping to the conclusion that there is no smoke without fire

    Ridiculous. The official investigation found the fire. The official investigators reached this conclusion following interviews with the complainant and accused.

    (Those two interviews seem to have been the entire investigation; certainly a statement from someone else in the room would be useful, but it has perhaps escaped your notice that the very presence of someone else in the room is disputed.)

    The President, report of the official investigation in hand, had three choices: overturning the report (but on what basis?), imposing serious punishment, or imposing a minimal wrist-slap. He, with the interests of the entire University in mind, and wisely in my view, chose the third alternative. Evans could have shut up, done the training session(s) and gone on with his evidently clueless life.

    Instead, he has freaked out and Alerted the Media. It seems to be some kind of magical thinking that the Internet will make things right. I don’t see how anything good can come of it, for Evans at least. It’s manual hole-expansion all the way.

    What concerns me now is the spectacle of half-informed people like Myers, Dennett, and Pinker publicly buying into the absurd post-hoc “academic freedom” bullshit spin. It’s just embarrassing for all concerned.

  500. #500 Sven DiMilo
    May 18, 2010

    …and worst of all for the now fully outed complainant.
    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/woman-in-batsex-row-is-expert-nutritionist-2183499.html
    This is a fucking travesty.

  501. #501 Bernard Bumner
    May 18, 2010

    This is a fucking travesty.

    This is absolutely a travesty.

    I pity anyone who is thinking of making a complaint at UCC, because their decision to do so has been made much more difficult by Dr. Evans’ response and the individual who leaked those documents. (Who we may, perhaps, pseudonymously refer to as r.D avEns?)

  502. #502 Joseph
    May 18, 2010

    Just saw this on Times Higher Education blog;
    “Evans may be clever but he would seem to lack judgement.
    On 29th January, just before his interview with UCC admin to investigate charges of sexual harrassment, he tweeted as follows:

    Staring at boobs increases male life expectancy – http://bit.ly/cMcQkx – best bit of scientific research ever!

    The boob research, btw, turned out to be a hoax.”
    Just imagine you’re a female student and have signed up to follow the tweets of your oh so cool professor. This might be a little to much information. Or maybe perhaps useful information .
    Sensitivity training doesn’t seem out of place.

  503. #503 Carlie
    May 18, 2010

    On 29th January, just before his interview with UCC admin to investigate charges of sexual harrassment, he tweeted as follows:

    WOW. Just…wow. Yeah. The more I find out about him, the more the complainant’s accusation makes sense.

  504. #504 Sven DiMilo
    May 18, 2010

    Teh google now gives over 11,000 hits for ‘dylan evans fruit bat’. Almost all of it I’ve looked at presents his story as truth, implicitly mocks the idea that showing a peer-reviewed scholarly article to a colleague could ever constitute sexual harassment, and plays up the phony academic freedom angle.

    It’s giving me a stomachache.

  505. #505 Carlie
    May 18, 2010

    Well, you know what they say – bitches ain’t shit.

    (apologies to MAJeff for stealing his line)

  506. #506 Bernard Bumner
    May 18, 2010

    Almost all of it I’ve looked at presents his story as truth, implicitly mocks the idea that showing a peer-reviewed scholarly article to a colleague could ever constitute sexual harassment, and plays up the phony academic freedom angle.

    Frankly, the appalling standard of journalism and reportage on display is much more worrying than a case of relatively mild misconduct. (The initial offense, rather than the reaction, which may well constitute gross misconduct.)

  507. #507 Sven DiMilo
    May 18, 2010

    I’ve just learned that this is not Dylan Evans’s first appearance at Pharyngula.
    It was just five years ago…

  508. #508 Sven DiMilo
    May 18, 2010
  509. #509 Carlie
    May 18, 2010

    Holy crap! Nice legwork, Sven.

  510. #510 Ichthyic
    May 18, 2010

    I just don’t get it.

    frankly, neither do I.

    kind of why I asked if others had a different response.

    Can anyone see a benefit to flogging what should be private departmental issues regarding interactions between members of a dept. publicly like Dylan is doing?

    Has the internet actually changed what the predicted outcome would be?

    Am I missing something? Has the way we deal with social interaction changed so much that random support from the interweb would have anything but a negative influence in a situation like this?

  511. #511 Ichthyic
    May 18, 2010

    oh, and finally…

    I can’t claim much knowledge of porn ? but this means that animals not only carry out sexually activities condemned by the religious as unnatural, but they do it better than we do.

    show me bats doing threesomes, and I’ll start to be a believer.

  512. #512 SC OM
    May 18, 2010

    Gosh – thanks, Fishkiller!

    ***

    I thought this was reasonable, especially Stephen Kinsella’s comment:

    http://universitydiary.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/fruit-bats-and-the-limits-to-academic-freedom/

    ***

    He was accused of sexual harassment and he admits distributing an article about bat sex. If those are the criteria then that puts him in the same category as PZ Myers.

    Wow, that’s stupid.

    NOBODY comes out of this incident smelling of roses.

    I really hate statements like this. Even if that’s true, no one is fucking supposed to. We’re human beings, and we shouldn’t be expected to be perfect – that includes people who make complaints. There was an episode of CSI a while back in which there had been a tragedy involving a child, about which the parents lied (for reasons that, it later emerged, were understandable). In the course of the investigation a number of facts emerged about the family involving an affair and so forth. At the end, the mother says to one of the investigators (I don’t recall the exact words), “You must think we’re terrible people.” She replies, “No, just a normal family whose lives were put under a microscope.”

    We don’t always handle everything as well as we should. This doesn’t mean it’s a wash, that everyone’s an asshole and that excuses behaviors that are unacceptable. It’s expected. That’s why there are professionals trained to evaluate situations involving relationships that can be messy and determine whether someone crossed a line. But to protect everyone in situations like this, the process should be confidential and professional.

    (There are also all sorts of reasons people don’t want to confront someone directly in alleged harassment cases. Aside from the more obvious, sometimes someone’s behavior seems bizarre or unstable, and responding at the individual level seems dangerous – if you don’t feel like you can predict their response to being confronted in this way – and unlikely to resolve the problem. I’m not saying that’s the case here.)

    I’m curious as to what people think of the approach Dylan has taken to this issue. It’s becoming more common, but is it productive at all?

    I’ve given it some thought since you asked. I’ve been involved in the past in several campaigns involving academics, always on the side opposing the administration. Some have been reasonably successful, and I think it depends on a number of factors. These all involved politics, and some were extremely serious. Online petitions may often be useless, but I think petitions will remain an effective tool in some cases as they have been for more than a thousand years. And online campaigns generally can work. I also think there are serious cases involving human rights and real dangers in which internal documents should – after solid consideration – be made public, and I’ve seen the devastating consequences for whistleblowers who followed their consciences and can’t imagine how hard it must be sometimes to do this.

    I kind of fear this episode will make people avoid these campaigns, and I hope people will continue to support scholars who are genuinely being persecuted:

    http://www.nearinternational.org/

    I don’t mean accept every campaign and sign on unthinkingly, just not avoid taking any action in any situation. (The guy who wrote the HuffPo post about this, incidentally, is with an organization called FIRE. I don’t think I’d ever come across it before this. They may well do some good work, but what I have been able to gather makes me wary.)

  513. #513 https://me.yahoo.com/a/DMi7D9olkM0R4V44cJzXOMy5CXK9RUQ-#1bf1f
    May 18, 2010

    Wow, that’s stupid.

    And yet, it is still true. That was probably why you were unable to offer an actual response to it.

  514. #514 SC OM
    May 18, 2010

    And yet, it is still true. That was probably why you were unable to offer an actual response to it.

    I did. I pointed out that it’s stupid. The two contexts/situations aren’t remotely comparable.

  515. #515 Ichthyic
    May 18, 2010

    And yet, it is still true.

    it is?

    has someone in this thread signed an affidavit of sexual harassment against PZ for reprinting parts of an article on bat sex here?

    oh, no, they haven’t. you were being an idiot, full of false equivalency but signifying nothing.

    well, whatever floats yer boat.

  516. #516 SC OM
    May 18, 2010
  517. #517 https://me.yahoo.com/a/DMi7D9olkM0R4V44cJzXOMy5CXK9RUQ-#1bf1f
    May 18, 2010

    I did. I pointed out that it’s stupid. The two contexts/situations aren’t remotely comparable.
    &
    has someone in this thread signed an affidavit of sexual harassment against PZ for reprinting parts of an article on bat sex here?

    Oh that?s right, no one decided to be offended and go file a complaint to try and ruin PZ?s career. That is the key difference apparently. All it takes is for someone to ?feel offended?, and not any actual act deserving of the phrase ?sexual harassment?.

    I do not know which is scarier. The fact that, apparently, someone can take a dislike to a person and potentially ruin their career (or subject them to a two year training/counselling period) in this manner regardless of whether an inappropriate act actually occurred, or that there are people on this thread who apparently think such a situation is ok.

  518. #518 SC OM
    May 18, 2010

    Oh that?s right, no one decided to be offended and go file a complaint to try and ruin PZ?s career. That is the key difference apparently.

    Listen, you idiot. First, don’t combine comments from two different people like that. It’s dishonest. Second, what part of “The two contexts/situations aren’t remotely comparable” do you not understand?

    Ignoring the other irrelevant babbling…

    (or subject them to a two year training/counselling period)

    Where is the evidence for this? Again, I’m not claiming it’s false, but I have yet to see evidence of it.

  519. #519 echidna
    May 18, 2010

    From the Irish Times:

    Dr Evans, who is being supported by the Irish Federation of University Teachers, told the Irish Independent yesterday that he had not released any documents in the case.

    But he posted them on YouTube.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsbnERoFtUQ

    It’s possible that the Irish Times made a mistake, but I’m beginning to doubt Dylan Evan’s sense of reality. He’s on Twitter, and some of it is just not appropriate (slagging off at other commenters, and so on).

  520. #520 Ichthyic
    May 18, 2010

    That is the key difference apparently.

    really.

    that’s the ONLY difference you see.

    you have remarkably poor vision.

  521. #521 Ichthyic
    May 18, 2010

    UCC said it viewed ?with the utmost gravity? the fact that confidential material concerning an internal allegation of sexual harassment was posted to various social media platforms in contravention of university policy and well-established procedure.

    inevitable that it would come to this after the direction Evans took.

    again, why I keep wondering if there is any value in bringing what should be internal matters into the purview of the internet.

    seems in this case it was bad for everyone, including all potential future victims of EITHER real harassment or inappropriate sanctions.

    I just don’t see where any good comes out of going in this direction.

    I read this:

    I’ve been involved in the past in several campaigns involving academics, always on the side opposing the administration. Some have been reasonably successful, and I think it depends on a number of factors. These all involved politics, and some were extremely serious. Online petitions may often be useless, but I think petitions will remain an effective tool in some cases as they have been for more than a thousand years.

    and agree that many factors must be considered, few of which I think were in Evans’ case.

    I see much flaming wreckage as a result here.

  522. #522 Ichthyic
    May 18, 2010

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsbnERoFtUQ

    just noticed the only comment on that youtube upload by Evans:

    “These documents were confidential. Making them public serves no good? purpose. ”

    again, I can’t help but agree with that.

  523. #523 echidna
    May 18, 2010

    From Twitter:

    evansd66 @glukianoff – however, it would be more accurate to state that the documentation re: #fruitbatgate was posted online by someone else

    I only see constant dissembling from him. Icthyic, this seems to be a flaming wreck already.

  524. #524 Sven DiMilo
    May 18, 2010

    Evans claims he is not responsible for the freaking petition. His letter urging people to sign it was posted verbatim on Pharyngula, Huffington (ptew!) Post, and Dawkins’s site.

  525. #525 Ichthyic
    May 18, 2010

    Icthyic, this seems to be a flaming wreck already.

    I think we’re just scratching the surface, unfortunately.

    I can see far-reaching implications.

    I hope I’m wrong; maybe it’s just a pan-flash.

  526. #526 Ichthyic
    May 18, 2010

    Evans claims he is not responsible for the freaking petition.

    *doubletake*

    whaaa?

    *looks at original post*

    I am now campaigning to have the sanctions lifted. I would be grateful for your support on this matter. I have created an online petition at:
    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/freedebate/

    funny, unless my eyes deceive me, the pronoun used repeatedly in that statement is “I”.

  527. #527 SC OM
    May 18, 2010

    But he posted them on YouTube.

    He also sent them to Lukianoff. From the HuffPo post:

    UPDATES: I just received the official documentation from Professor Evans. You can judge for yourself: http://felidware.com/DylanEvans/.

    Even if he didn’t create that site himself, do they think that makes a difference? And he apparently put them on his Facebook page, sent them to several media sites (as he said in his first post on this thread), and shared more than a few details here.

    He seems to be saying he didn’t write the petition, either. ?

    and agree that many factors must be considered, few of which I think were in Evans’ case.

    I see much flaming wreckage as a result here.

    Oh, I agree. I just think in some (other) cases, internet campaigns and petitions can be appropriate and effective. (I should note that none that I recall involved this sort of case or the sharing of confidential information.)

  528. #528 Ichthyic
    May 18, 2010

    or that there are people on this thread who apparently think such a situation is ok.

    take your strawman and stuff it.

  529. #529 Ichthyic
    May 18, 2010

    UPDATES: I just received the official documentation from Professor Evans. You can judge for yourself: http://felidware.com/DylanEvans/.

    *looks at first line of reply from president, while reading it…*

    Strictly Private & Confidential
    Addressee Only

    *balks at obvious irony.*

  530. #530 SC OM
    May 18, 2010

    …and Dawkins’s site.

    Evans on Dawkins (from the link at the earlier Pharyngula post):

    Ophelia Benson gets terribly upset at my claim that Dawkins is artistically illiterate. She thinks this shows that I can?t have read ?Unweaving the Rainbow?, but in fact it is precisely this book that made me think, for the first time, that Dawkins couldn?t possibly understand poetry. It is true, of course, that he goes out of his way in this book to display a knowledge of literature, but the very ostentatiousness of these displays should be enough to raise a few eyebrows; the man protests too much. The references to poetry that abound in his ?Unweaving the Rainbow?, smack of desperation ? a desperation to be rid of the smell of philistinism that he is worried may waft up from his earlier writings. And when one subjects these references to any scrutiny, it immediately becomes clear that Dawkins has about as much feeling for poetry as a mole does for a beautiful sunset.

    http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2005/who-needs-an-excuse/

    But maybe that wasn’t really him either…

    (Sometimes I forget how much I adore Ophelia Benson.)

  531. #531 Ichthyic
    May 18, 2010

    one minor thing I did note from reading all the letters was this:

    Last February Dr Evans wrote to you personally and he told you that ?when I first
    received notification of the complaint, on 13 November 2009, I wrote to HR to say
    that I was prepared to apologise to the complainant for any offence I may have
    inadvertently caused?. He also offered to undergo mediation if necessary. The
    complainant refused both the apology and the offer of mediation.

    If accurate, I would retract my earlier admonition that he should have tried apologizing at least as soon as investigators contacted him.

    the admonition that he should have apologized MUCH sooner still stands, however.

    :)

  532. #532 Ichthyic
    May 18, 2010

    Dawkins has about as much feeling for poetry as a mole does for a beautiful sunset.

    hmm, what was he saying earlier in that same piece about Dawkins protesting too much?

  533. #533 echidna
    May 18, 2010

    It was not professional to put those documents online in contravention of the University policies. The dissembling by Evans on this point is a further red flag to me – I know that were I making the decision, I wouldn’t give him tenure anymore, regardless of the merit of the original complaint.

  534. #534 SC OM
    May 18, 2010

    Dr Evans said he was taking legal advice on the matter.

    Why on earth hasn’t his lawyer told him to STFU? Here’s my advice to the lawyer: Tell your client to STFU. For the love of self-preservation, Evans, S T F U.

    I’m concerned about the guy. This behavior isn’t just unprofessional. It’s very strange.

  535. #535 Sven DiMilo
    May 18, 2010

    It is strange. It’s flaming-out-in-style strange.

  536. #536 Sven DiMilo
    May 18, 2010

    And I haven’t even gotten the chance to mock him yet for calling himself “The PhDJ”.

    Ah, there it was.

  537. #537 Ichthyic
    May 18, 2010

    I know that were I making the decision, I wouldn’t give him tenure anymore, regardless of the merit of the original complaint.

    ayup.

    This behavior isn’t just unprofessional. It’s very strange.

    it makes me wonder if indeed his colleagues WERE looking for any excuse to get rid of him, and he blundered right into it and promptly shot himself in the head.

    looking at his past commentary, blogs, etc., it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the entire dept. at UCC had had their fill of him.

    Academic Freedom arguments don’t make up for being an ass on a regular basis.

    …you need tenure for that.

    :)

  538. #538 Rob
    May 19, 2010

    While I still have my reservations about the initial complaint, the posting of confidential materials outing the complainant is inexcusable. However badly he feels he has been treated by the University, if he leaked these documents (and I’m not sure who the hell else could have), he deserves any disciplinary action the University gives him.

  539. #539 Jadehawk, OM
    May 19, 2010

    see, this is why i love this blog. there’s enough skeptics on here than someone, somewhere, will dig up the real story.

    I think the massive, counterfactual denials that are coming in now pretty much confirm SC’s suspicions that the dude was talking out of his ass from the start.

    I bow before your bullshit-detector, SC.

  540. #540 memills
    May 19, 2010

    So, if a letter says “Confidential” we should all respect that? The Pentagon Papers, Watergate, etc., should have all remained away from public scrutiny?

    There was an injustice here, by a university president who weaseled out (as too many do) on the side of political correctness, rather than defend the most important value of the academy: academic freedom.

    The incident revolves around sharing of a paper published in a peer-reviewed academic journal with a colleague. Case closed — academic freedom must prevail or University College Cork will not be taken seriously by the academy.

    The situation could have been resolved informally — but both the president and the claimant refused personal discussion or informal mediation. Once it went formal, and had this outcome, academics around the world need to take notice.

    This case deserves much public scrutiny.

    As was noted in post #385

    “Injustices that stay secret tend to remain injustices.”

  541. #541 echidna
    May 19, 2010

    SC@534 said:

    Why on earth hasn’t his lawyer told him to STFU? Here’s my advice to the lawyer: Tell your client to STFU. For the love of self-preservation, Evans, S T F U.

    Once again, you are prescient:

    Dr Evans denies that he was responsible for leaking the documents — which include Dr Salerno Kennedy’s written complaint, Dr Evans’s reply and the findings of an external team of investigators.

    “It wasn’t me,” Dr Evans told the Irish Independent last night. He said he had passed the matter over to his lawyers, who had advised him not to comment.

    And yes, “unprofessional” is an understatement.

  542. #542 echidna
    May 19, 2010

    Memills,

    Releasing those documents was not in the public interest. It was not even in Dr. Evans’ interests. Now he is in much deeper trouble than he was before, and nobody is better off.

    Case closed — academic freedom must prevail or University College Cork will not be taken seriously by the academy.

    Because University College Cork has suppressed what research exactly? What discussions? What academic positions or talks?

  543. #543 memills
    May 19, 2010

    echidna,

    University College Cork has, in effect, banned the sharing of academic papers among colleagues, lest a colleague find a paper distasteful.

    This is an attack on academic freedom. As previous posters have noted, academic freedom was hard fought, and must remain the top value of the academy. Otherwise, we don’t have universities, we have madrassas.

    PS:

    This post is confidential.

    And, I hereby declare that your statement above has harassed me.

    The head of Political Correctness Enforcement has reviewed your post, and has determined that your punishment will be flogging and banishment from the internet.

    Imagine that was real. Would you care to take it public? Or, just take it?

  544. #544 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    This is an attack on academic freedom.

    you didn’t read the comments in this thread. I’d say a pretty careful investigation indicates that’s mostly a cover.

    If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say you are an undergrad there, or friends with one.

    I don’t think you have a good perspective on this, in any case.

  545. #545 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    I bow before your bullshit-detector, SC.

    me too.

    but mine seems to have been honed by observation, cause this:

    University College Cork has, in effect, banned the sharing of academic papers among colleagues, lest a colleague find a paper distasteful.

    is obvious bullshit even to me.

  546. #546 pmoloney
    May 19, 2010

    It’s interesting that the general attitude on the UCC forum, and among people I know in UCC, is that this story is all down to insider politics. Any UCCers in the thread care to comment?

  547. #547 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    this story is all down to insider politics

    lol, one could only wish it HAD stayed internal.

  548. #548 echidna
    May 19, 2010

    memills,

    University College Cork has, in effect, banned the sharing of academic papers among colleagues, lest a colleague find a paper distasteful.

    and

    madrassa

    Crikey, keep your hair on. You obviously don’t know your audience here: the people on this blog are academically inclined, or at least very knowledgeable, and don’t like hyperbole very much. There are quite a number of academics present, and a number of people who know more about political and religious repression and harassment than you can even imagine.

    Taking this public has not helped the cause of academic freedom in the slightest, nor has Evans helped any institution or individual. All I see is that Evans found a way of revealing who his accuser was, totally smashing through the expectation of confidentiality that the complaints process was meant to have. He has made it much harder to make a legitimate complaint; he has set academics on edge about harrassment complaints. He has used sledgehammer tactics with the University and the complainant as targets, and he may have ruined his own career in the process. I know I wouldn’t give him tenure after this display. Maybe he thought he had nothing left to lose.

  549. #549 Sven DiMilo
    May 19, 2010

    The incident revolves around sharing of a paper published in a peer-reviewed academic journal with a colleague. Case closed

    That is the most simplistic possible view. There is much more information available than Evans’s ill-considered, self-serving, disingenuous letter and petition. You simply don’t know what you’re talking about (but you’re in good company: Myers, Pinker, Dennett, and Dawkins have all been fooled too).

    academic freedom was hard fought, and must remain the top value of the academy.

    Agreed. That’s precisely why this case pisses me off. It has nothing to do with academic freedom. It trivializes the serious and important issue of academic freedom in service of rationalizing fratboy douchery and web-2 narcissism.

  550. #550 SC OM
    May 19, 2010

    http://scienceblogs.com/thoughtfulanimal/2010/05/does_oral_sex_confer_an_evolut.php

    So let’s look at oral sex in animals. There is some evidence that bonobos engage in fellatio, but this is infrequent, and usually among juveniles and considered part of play (see this article (PDF) or this paper). This might lead you to believe that fellatio is primarily a human activity or emerged as a part of play (as opposed to a part of sex) – in either case, not a convincing evolutionarily adaptive explanation.

    Except that the paper he’s talking about explicitly talks about orangutans:

    Schürmann observed that a female orangutan, Pongo pygmaeus, often interrupted copulation for a short while, manipulating her mate’s penis with her hand, licking it or putting it in her mouth before mounting again. It is plausible that this female’s behavior increased male arousal [22].

    Indeed it is, and this is much closer to what humans do. In fact, what these researchers seem to be doing is taking what we know from humans and – in a way that’s valid as long as they’re considering species-specific characteristics – using it to speculate on similar or related behaviors in other species. You’d have to be a fucking idiot [get it?] not to recognize that oral sex (fellatio and cunnilingus; …by the way, has anyone observed/studied cunnilingus in any other species?) have an arousal and probably lubrication function.* But fellatio has also been observed as (sexual?) play behavior (which of course also has adaptive value) in other primates, and is a culturally-variable practice. In other words, it’s complex. But it would be pretty unreasonable to be led to believe something about humans on the basis of observed behavior in bonobos without taking into account what’s obviously the case with humans.

    I don’t see what this study tells us about humans that we didn’t already know if we gave it a moment’s thought. This would be true even if it were a completely exceptional behavior, so this is a red herring. “Some might argue that oral sex does not have adaptive value. How could it increase reproductive fitness when engaging in oral sex does not seem to allow sperm to meet egg? If sperm and egg don’t have a rendezvous, someone could be super duper awesome but an adaptive loser” and “This might lead you to believe that fellatio is primarily a human activity or emerged as a part of play (as opposed to a part of sex)” are simply ridiculous. Think about it, Goldman: Is oral sex part of sex – combined in practice with copulation – in humans?

    When human adults show complex, possibly culture-specific skills, they emerge from a set of psychological (and thus neural) mechanisms which have two properties:
    (1) they evolved early in the timecourse of evolution and are shared with other animals, and,
    (2) they emerge early in human development, and can be found in infants and children, as well as adults.

    I don’t even know where to start with that.

    *The business about its playing an anti-STD, antibacterial, etc., role is a bit worrisome if people are going to talk about humans in the same context. For all we know, it may play this role among humans, but oral sex is also a means to transmit infections, and people should be clear about that.

  551. #551 Carlie
    May 19, 2010

    That’s precisely why this case pisses me off. It has nothing to do with academic freedom. It trivializes the serious and important issue of academic freedom in service of rationalizing fratboy douchery and web-2 narcissism.

    QFT.

  552. #552 Sven DiMilo
    May 19, 2010

    *eyeroll*
    The adaptive function of oral sex in humans?
    Is there any reason at all to suspect a genetic component to the propensity to apply mouth to partner’s genitals in the first place?

    hmm let’s see *waving arms about* “pair-bonding”!

  553. #553 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 19, 2010

    Good sleuthing on SC’s, Sven’s, and others’ parts. Given Evans’ behavior – the tweets, the inconsistencies in his accounts, the apparently massive ego – I’m far more inclined to believe the complainant than I was before.

    Based on the paper record I saw when I objected upthread, I still don’t think it was unreasonable to give Evans the benefit of the doubt at that point. But the subsequent revelations paint a pretty damning picture, and it looks like I was wrong.

  554. #554 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 19, 2010

    University College Cork has, in effect, banned the sharing of academic papers among colleagues, lest a colleague find a paper distasteful.

    Sorry, but this is just a lame and inane statement. Sharing via e-mail, holding a seminar, or a break room bull session are unlikely to result in any complaints, just like any totally work related material.

    Trouble can happen with non-work related material, that can be considered salacious by some, and a twit goes barging into someone elses office to shove it in their face.

    Academic freedom is in no way impaired, but some jerks might have to change their behavior. This causes some jerks distress. I don’t feel sorry for them.

  555. #555 Walton
    May 19, 2010

    I perhaps owe SC an apology.

    SC: it seems that you were right on this one, and I was wrong. I’m sorry.

  556. #556 Sven DiMilo
    May 19, 2010

    Thanks, Josh–you’ve got class.
    I’d like to see PZ and the Horsemen follow your example.
    Pinker in particular has managed to supply ammo to the mendacious “evo-psych exists only to justify the patriarchy” meme.

  557. #557 Rorschach
    May 19, 2010

    Did Evans send this to PZ ? If yes, I don’t think he realised what he was getting himself into, putting this out to the skeptical horde for analysis…:-)

  558. #558 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    May 19, 2010

    Pinker in particular has managed to supply ammo to the mendacious “evo-psych exists only to justify the patriarchy” meme.

    Sigh. This depresses me, because I have a lot of time for Pinker (and Dennett). Evo-psych is almost as tough to have a rational conversation about as is any topic involving children and sexuality; biases and emotional reactions shut down the brains of even the most intelligent people. I understand why Pinker would react this way, and also why others would take the opposite position.

    It seems to me true that:

    a. Evo-psych can and does make useful contributions to understanding of human behavior

    b. Evo-psych can and is often often done sloppily, and opponents are right to call out untestable “just-so stories.” Some of them are embarrassingly laughable.

    c. There are many opponents (not all, mind) of evo-psych that are rigidly and ideologically opposed the very idea that evolution shaped human psychology in any way, and contort themselves to caricature it at all costs. They do not distinguish between reasonable and unreasonable hypotheses, and see the whole thing as a tool of oppression.

    d. Both camps are so charged and on guard, that what should be a conversation turns into ritual, content-free defense of one’s tribe.

    When this spaghettified intellectual mess infects a real world situation such as this one, nothing useful is accomplished, and a lot of damage is done.

  559. #559 SC OM
    May 19, 2010

    http://universitydiary.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/bringing-the-veil-down-on-the-fruit-bats/

    ***

    Thanks, Josh and Walton. (I should say that I wasn’t extraordinarily suspicious from the start. Though some elements gave me pause, I really was asking him questions in good faith. I don’t know how this came to be about me, though; other people were calling for skepticism before I joined the thread.)

    ***

    It seems to me true that:

    a. Evo-psych can and does make useful contributions to understanding of human behavior

    b. Evo-psych can and is often often done sloppily, and opponents are right to call out untestable “just-so stories.” Some of them are embarrassingly laughable.

    My approach is to only discuss specific research on specific claims.

  560. #560 Rorschach
    May 19, 2010

    My approach is to only discuss specific research on specific claims.

    Where’s Nancy anyway ??

    ;)

    From the blog post SC linked above :

    And a few thousand people have shown an extraordinary lack of judgement in backing him without having any real knowledge of the circumstances

    Not here, they haven’t.

  561. #561 Sven DiMilo
    May 19, 2010

    Hank Fox, dutchdoc, and SC were the early voices of reason here (and anywhere, afaict). The guy at SC’s link above has it exactly right–nothing more need be said (though it already has been).

  562. #562 SC OM
    May 19, 2010

    http://www.stephenkinsella.net/2010/05/18/fruitbatgate/

    Evans:

    Thanks for your comments, Stephen, which strike me as very thoughtful. I am not sure, however, what the ?bullying? you refer to is. Could you clarify? Please remember that I have never named the complainant, and indeed did my best to avoid revealing possible identifiers. But I guess it was inevitable as soon as this story went viral that journalists would do their utmost to identify the complainant. I did not post the documents online, but once they were in the public domain I felt I had a perfect right to defend myself against some of the more horrible slurs on my character that started doing the rounds on the net. I agree it is highly regretable that some newspapers are now publishing photos of the person they claim is the complainant. The complainant?s privacy deserves to be respected in these cases, and my beef is entirely with UCC, not with the complainant. I think their ruling on the matter does have serious implications for academic freedom, though I agree with you that now the story has evolved to be about much more than that. It is wrong for anyone to sign a petition without assuring themselves of the facts first, and for that reason it strikes me that whoever posted the documents online was doing the signatories a service, particularly as the identifiers were redacted. I should also refer you to a comment by Greg Lukianoff, the author of the #fruitbat post on the Huffington Post: ?in the cases we handle in the US we usually post primary documents, like charging documents, on line.?

    That’s just…wow.

  563. #563 memills
    May 19, 2010

    echidna,

    I am a tenured professor, not an undergrad.

    There are two conflicting interests here, protection from actual sexual harassment vs. protection of academic freedom. The reason there is so much back-and-forth on this topic is the tension between these two values.

    Your statement that Evans “has made it much harder to make a legitimate [sexual harassment] complaint” indicates that you place a lesser value on academic freedom. Another perspective is that “the university has made it much harder to freely share academic articles with colleagues.”

    Again, keep in mind what this case is fundamentally about — the charge that the act of showing a colleague a published journal article, in itself, constituted sexual harassment. (That was the only sexual harassment charge the president of the university made.)

    In my experience, most academics would find this to be an unacceptable limitation on academic freedom.

    Such violations need to be exposed and vetted by the academic community. Organizations such as the AAUP, FIRE, Academics for Academic Freedom, etc., have exposed similar attacks on academic freedom by university administrators.

    Unfortunately, this situation is not unique — it is one more example of the insanity that can result at universities as they try to be both politically correct and support academic freedom. Unfortunately, the latter does not always prevail.

    For other examples, see the FIRE or AAUP websites.

    Below is a link to a video of another administrative assault on academic freedom: a student who was judged guilty by university of racial harassment simply by reading a book (a book, ironically, available in the university library and one critical of the KKK).

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TheFIREorg#p/c/3/0ZHnB3jyrHI

    And another:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzPF5kEg7-Y

  564. #564 memills
    May 19, 2010

    …and on a related current events note regarding free speech (and madrassas):

    CNN: Pakistan shuts down Facebook over ‘Draw Mohammed’ Day

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/05/19/pakistani.facebook.shutdown/index.html

    Folks who are offended by bat sex, or cartoons, should not be allowed to limit our speech.

  565. #565 Sven DiMilo
    May 19, 2010

    The petition was posted on Friday May 14th. Links to the documents (and dance vid!) are now on the petition site but it’s not clear when they were added. A signatory mentions reading the investigators report on the 15th. The first reference to the documents being posted online that I know of was in comment #48 above by ?grantia.o? (a possible Dylan Evans sockpuppet): ?However, he [Evans] has been very open and has posted the original official complaint & several other relevant documents in full on his Facebook page?.That was just before noon (blogtime) Saturday the 15th. PZ?s post went up about 4 hours earlier, but Lukianoff?s Huffington Post thing had been up the afternoon before (and he got it from Pinker!). The documents were then linked?at the felidware site– from here by dutchdoc in #124 (15th, 3:46 pm) after ?some poking around?. The ?fruitbatgate? dance-track video featuring scans of the documents was posted by ?evansd66? on the 16th. The Huffington Post article was updated apparently on the 17th; the language used was : ?I just received the official documentation from Professor Evans. You can judge for yourself: http://felidware.com/DylanEvans/.?

    It?s not clear who set up the felidware site, and exactly when, but it hardly matters if the documents were posted to Facebook by Evans first.

  566. #566 Bernard Bumner
    May 19, 2010

    Your statement that Evans “has made it much harder to make a legitimate [sexual harassment] complaint” indicates that you place a lesser value on academic freedom. Another perspective is that “the university has made it much harder to freely share academic articles with colleagues.”

    Which would only be right. Keep in mind that the “academic freedom” at risk in this case is that of being able to share unsolicited papers in another person’s office. If asking before sharing is the cost of ensuring that people are able to complain about harassment, then so be it.

    As it is, even that consequence exists largely in the minds of those sympathetic to Evans, rather than being a likely consequence of the UCC President’s actions.

    Whereas, it is immediately obvious that Evans’ very public campaign damages confidence in the complaints procedure. That is entirely Evans’ fault.

    Again, keep in mind what this case is fundamentally about — the charge that the act of showing a colleague a published journal article, in itself, constituted sexual harassment. (That was the only sexual harassment charge the president of the university made.)

    Bullshit. Even some of those who initially thought – myself included – that Evans may have been treated harshly, didn’t think this was a matter of academic freedom.

    As it is, he was clearly found guilty of some wrongdoing, if unintentionally. He then chose to make a public circus of the thing, for no reason other than that he didn’t like the outcome. At that point, he could have chosen to go through the due process of disciplinary proceedings and appeals. Instead, he chose to reframe his own problem in terms of the current cause célčbre that is academic freedom, and act in manner damaging to both himself, the complainant, and the UCC.

    Unfortunately, this situation is not unique — it is one more example of the insanity that can result at universities as they try to be both politically correct and support academic freedom. Unfortunately, the latter does not always prevail.

    Protecting people from harassment or bullying is simply political correctness, is it?

  567. #567 Sven DiMilo
    May 19, 2010

    keep in mind what this case is fundamentally about — the charge that the act of showing a colleague a published journal article, in itself, constituted sexual harassment

    You have misunderstood completely “what this case is fundamentally about”.

    similar attacks on academic freedom by university administrators

    Exhibit B.
    The case, as every thoughtful person who has examined any of the details now admits, has nothing to do with academic freedom. Zero. Your insistence on propagating the most ideologically simplistic possible interpretation of the case suggests that you are using it to grind an axe.
    Your subsequent characterization of procedural processing of a formal complaint of sexual harassment as “trying to be politically correct” suggests the particular axe you are grinding.

  568. #568 memills
    May 19, 2010

    You are right — I have an ax to grind. I place a greater value on freedom of speech and academic freedom over claims of taking offense to speech.

    You don’t — so you are just grinding a different ax.

    Given my values, I support your free expression of them.

  569. #569 Joseph
    May 19, 2010

    @Memills
    Is is your position that it is impossible that someone could use an academic peer-reviewed article to make a joke with sexual innuendo?

  570. #570 SC OM
    May 19, 2010

    What sane person thinks academic freedom means academics can say or do anything they like regardless of its effects on anyone and without consequences? You can’t do any research you like at a university (has to go through IRBs and IACUCs and follow policies, laws, and international conventions, however gutted); you can’t publish fake data; you can’t (as Evans learned, or should have) publish books libeling people; and you can’t harass your coworkers.

    ***

    http://www.dylan.org.uk/unabomber.html

    The Utopia experiment sounds…interesting.

  571. #571 Sven DiMilo
    May 19, 2010

    What axe am I grinding? I’m trying hard to judge the case by the evidence. You’re trying hard not to.

  572. #572 memills
    May 19, 2010

    Is is your position that it is impossible that someone could use an academic peer-reviewed article to make a joke with sexual innuendo?

    Can free speech be abused? Sure. But in my value system, free speech is so important that it trumps a claim that it amounted to sexual harassment in this case.

    Had it been a case of multiple instances of sharing academic articles about sexuality, despite clear communication that it was unwanted, and if informal mediation had failed, then I agree it would rise to another level.

    Otherwise, academic freedom, as exemplified by sharing of research articles by colleagues, should not be restricted by university administrators.

  573. #573 Sven DiMilo
    May 19, 2010

    Again: nobody’s academic freedom is at stake here. The particular way in which this particular article was shared between these particular colleagues was deemed inadvertently inappropriate workplace behavior by an independent investigation. The President responded to the report by imposing the least punitive sanctions available by written policy. The accused breached confidentiality and took it viral. Free scholarly debate has been compromised in no way.

  574. #574 Joseph
    May 19, 2010

    @memills
    The investigaion found that this was simply a joke with sexual innuendo. In other words in handing over the paper Evans had the intent of a provoking a social response rather than an academic one.
    One of the parties involved is a nutritionist specialising in elder care, the other a lecturer in medical risk analysis. They were not engaged professionally in anything close to the research topic of the paper.
    Your beef seems to be that you do not think that what happened amounted to sexual harassment, which is a reasonable point of view.
    The academic freedom angle is a red herring

  575. #575 memills
    May 19, 2010

    Academic freedom is at stake when a university administration punishes a faculty member for sexual harassment based on a single instance of sharing an academic paper.

    Compare this case with another case of a harassment claim based on reading a book:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TheFIREorg#p/c/3/0ZHnB3jyrHI

    At least in that case, the university president ultimately reversed his finding of racial harassment in favor of academic freedom. However, note that it took publicity, and work by FIRE, to achieve this outcome.

    With similar scrutiny by the academic community, hopefully a similar reversal may happen in this case.

  576. #576 SC OM
    May 19, 2010

    In other words in handing over the paper Evans had the intent of a provoking a social response rather than an academic one.

    Very well said.

    (Sigh. I fear “sharing an article” might be next up for euphemism status.)

  577. #577 memills
    May 19, 2010

    Evans had the intent of a provoking a social response rather than an academic one.

    There is no evidence of this.

    According to Evans (and apparently not challenged by anyone), they had an ongoing academic debate regarding the comparability of animal vs. human behavior, and “human exceptionalism.” Evans’ previous research and writing is relevant to this topic, as was the research paper that he shared.

  578. #578 Carlie
    May 19, 2010

    Academic freedom is at stake when a university administration punishes a faculty member for sexual harassment based on a single instance of sharing an academic paper.

    No matter how many times you repeat this, it does not erase the entire context surrounding the event.
    To quote, “One of the parties involved is a nutritionist specialising in elder care, the other a lecturer in medical risk analysis. They were not engaged professionally in anything close to the research topic of the paper.”

  579. #579 SC OM
    May 19, 2010

    According to Evans (and apparently not challenged by anyone), they had an ongoing academic debate regarding the comparability of animal vs. human behavior, and “human exceptionalism.”

    I refer you to the 500+ posts above yours.

  580. #580 memills
    May 19, 2010

    That is incorrect (see my post above).

    Further, both are interested in, and researching, the interface between biological and psychological systems. The more general question of animal / human comparability is certainly within this arena. It often is discussed by academics in many disciplines.

  581. #581 Carlie
    May 19, 2010

    Look, memills – I teach a college course about reproduction. I am known at my school as being interested in reproduction and biology. It would be entirely appropriate for any of my colleagues to bring me this paper and discuss it. But if they introduced it, several days after having a discussion about whether humans were exceptional, out of nowhere as a retort that “humans aren’t unique because animals have oral sex”, that would be really weird, because it’s a fairly odd leap to use sexual practices as a linchpin for a casual human behavior=animal behavior discussion. It doesn’t even make much sense within the parameters of that kind of discussion. And neither of them had any link to fields remotely related to this topic. Also, note that the fact that he never mentioned that this was an “ongoing debate” in the initial document; that was added on later, and looks an awful lot like a post-hoc rationalization.

  582. #582 SC OM
    May 19, 2010

    Further, both are interested in, and researching, the interface between biological and psychological systems. The more general question of animal / human comparability is certainly within this arena. It often is discussed by academics in many disciplines.

    Do you really think that’s going to fly with the skeptical crowd here? Hell, most of the people you’re talking to are in some vague way “interested in, and researching, the interface between biological and psychological systems.” (It’s a far cry, I’ll note, from Evans’ “topics directly related to our own research” above; I’ll give it that.)

  583. #583 Joseph
    May 19, 2010

    @memills;
    “There is no evidence of this”
    There is. The investigation panel after hearing the evidence of both parties, judged that what had happened was a joke with sexual innuendo.Presumeably Evans made his case there and it was not accepted.
    The only evidence you have to the contrary is Evans’ account.

  584. #584 Carlie
    May 19, 2010

    In case you missed it, his reply to the original complaint was “It is true that I showed the complainant the paper she refers to on 2 November 2009. I did this without any premeditation, simply because I was reading the paper when walking by her office and thought she might find it interesting.”

    That doesn’t even sound like there was a previous discussion as part of it that he just “forgot” to put in the document; in fact, it directly counters that idea by declaring that it was “without any premeditation” and that he though simply that “she might find it interesting”.

  585. #585 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 19, 2010

    In my experience, most academics would find this to be an unacceptable limitation on academic freedom.

    As as ex-academician I call bullshit. You appear to be conflating absolute freedom of speech, with intellectual inquiry. Absolute freedom of speech doesn’t exist, nor should it. People need to take responsibility for their speech, and especially if it bothers entails barging into other peoples offices to show them what might be considered salacious material. Or yelling “fire” and causing a panic resulting in bodily injury to people where no smoke or fire exists.

    Also, there are proper venues for academic freedom. Why didn’t Dr. Evans give a seminar on sexual habits of non-humans that are similar to certain human behaviors? Pure academic freedom at work. Also, it is voluntary on whether to attend. Even more freedom. The other end of academic freedom entails not having boors banging on your door to show you stuff you have no or little interest in. You appear to think that is appropriate behavior of collegues. I don’t, nor does the HR department backed by the administration at most places.

  586. #586 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    Maybe he thought he had nothing left to lose.

    …and with his usual lack of foresight and empathy, failed to even consider what impacts his actions might have on others involved in future disputes.

    he deserves obscurity at this point.

  587. #587 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    Evo-psych is almost as tough to have a rational conversation about as is any topic involving children and sexuality; biases and emotional reactions shut down the brains of even the most intelligent people. I understand why Pinker would react this way, and also why others would take the opposite position.

    lol. In my time as a grad student, you could have substituted sociobiology for evo-psych and the statement could have otherwise been a commonly said one.

  588. #588 memills
    May 19, 2010

    According to Evans, there was another person in the office who really could shed some light on the topic. Evans requested that this person be interviewed — that did not happen.

    The investigation seems pretty shoddy. At the outset of the investigative report itself doubt is cast on the believability of the complainant, apparently due to conflicts between her account vs. emails she sent.

    Clearly, given the issues at stake, and the apparently shoddy investigation, this case deserves as much attention by the academy as possible.

    PS: Nerd — I’m glad your are retired. Wouldn’t want to share any academic discourse with you given your sensitivities.

  589. #589 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    Further, both are interested in, and researching, the interface between biological and psychological systems.

    frankly, it doesn’t matter even if there WAS a discussion going on behind the scenes.

    the fact of the matter is, Evans’ behavior, as documented in the complaint and after, has been wholly inappropriate.

    it has nothing at all to do with academic freedom, and I’m sorry to see so many otherwise well meaning people conclude that it does.

    you really need to apply your efforts to preserve academic freedom to better targets.

    there are certainly enough out there to choose from.

  590. #590 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    The investigation seems pretty shoddy. At the outset of the investigative report itself doubt is cast on the believability of the complainant, apparently due to conflicts between her account vs. emails she sent.

    Might be relevant to the specific investigative procedures and policies of UCC. Probably what you really should be concentrating your efforts on improving, rather than thinking this has anything to do with academic freedom.

    PS: Nerd — I’m glad your are retired. Wouldn’t want to share any academic discourse with you given your sensitivities.

    we’re still waiting for any bit of academically oriented discourse to come from YOU.

    I find Nerd’s analysis to be much closer to the mark, and much more representative of what is really needed to bolster academic freedom, than anything you have mentioned so far.

    do you have a real case to make as to why Evans’ case is THE thing we should be concentrating on in a fight for academic freedom?

    again, I simply don’t see, with all the information available, that this has been anything other than a grandstanding internet boondoggle.

    we’re still waiting for any bit of academically oriented discourse to come from YOU.

    I find Nerd’s analysis to be much closer to the mark, and much more representative of what is really needed to bolster academic freedom, than anything you have mentioned so far.

    do you have a real case to make as to why Evans’ case is THE thing we should be concentrating on in a fight for academic freedom?

    again, I simply don’t see, with all the information available, that this has been anything other than a grandstanding internet boondoggle.

  591. #591 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    To quote, “One of the parties involved is a nutritionist specialising in elder care, the other a lecturer in medical risk analysis. They were not engaged professionally in anything close to the research topic of the paper.”

    I will add something to this…

    if you look at Evans’ website, you will see he does indeed research into the evolution of human behavior… as a topic of general interest.

    so, it is at least plausible that there was a debate running on this issue, regardless of how one might interpret Evans’ initial response to the investigators.

    that said, and again as mentioned previously, all of that is entirely irrelevant to whether what happened is an issue of academic freedom.

  592. #592 memills
    May 19, 2010

    Ah… but I repeat myself.

    …another example of political correct insanity at universities, for your reading pleasure:

    “Within hours of issuing our press release yesterday, the local and national media were on the scene at Hinds Community College (HCC) in Mississippi to discuss the case of student Isaac Rosenbloom’s punishment for a single use of the word “fuck” outside of class.”

    http://thefire.org/article/11900.html

  593. #593 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    Ah… but I repeat myself

    irrelevantly.

    if you don’t care to discuss Evans’ case specifically, shouldn’t you move on?

    it’s not like we have argued for academic freedom in general here.

    if you have evidence to support the idea that Evans’ case really is quintessential to fighting for academic freedom, you better get on with it.

  594. #594 echidna
    May 19, 2010

    memills@563:

    echidna,
    I am a tenured professor, not an undergrad.

    But sloppy with details, I can see. I didn’t say that you were an undergrad, somebody else did.

  595. #595 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    have argued for haven’t argued for.

    *sigh*

    I hate instant coffee.

  596. #596 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 19, 2010

    Wouldn’t want to share any academic discourse with you given your sensitivities.

    Yeah, I bet you are the type to grab your colleagues by the lapels and make them listen to your endless discourse in the name of academic freedom. That freedom also means that I, or anyone else, can tell you to unhand me and I can go on my way without further bother from a blowhard boor. I’ve met of few of your type during my academic days, with no pleasure. Such types are not the embodiment of academic freedom, but rather their selfish interests. Time and place for everything, but not on your schedule…

    but I repeat myself.

    All the idjit boors do that. Why don’t you stop, and prove you aren’t one?

  597. #597 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    I didn’t say that you were an undergrad, somebody else did.

    *raises hand*

    a conclusion I’m still sticking to in absence of any contrary, independent information.

    gotta call em as i see em.

  598. #598 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    Yeah, I bet you are the type to grab your colleagues by the lapels and make them listen to your endless discourse in the name of academic freedom.

    wait…

    are we sure this isn’t Evans as a sockpuppet?

    ’cause that’s pretty much been how I envisioned him.

  599. #599 Sven DiMilo
    May 19, 2010

    I thought so. memills is here not to defend academic freedom, but rather to decry rampant “political correctness”.

  600. #600 memills
    May 19, 2010

    Ichthyic,

    This case is but one example of the efforts by some to restrict freedom of speech, especially (and most ironically) at universities. As I mentioned before, fortunately, there are organizations such as FIRE and AAUP who take these cases before the public.

    Once exposed in the light of public (or legal) scrutiny, many are resolved by the removal of restrictions on speech.

    But, I get the sense that we disagree… ;-)

    I doubt there is much further to debate here without repetition, so I look forward to following the case to its ultimate outcome.

  601. #601 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 19, 2010

    but rather to decry rampant “political correctness”.

    Hmm…Wonder how many complaints are on his record? Inquiring minds using academic freedom want to know…

  602. #602 Jadehawk, OM
    May 19, 2010

    free speech is so important that it trumps a claim that it amounted to sexual harassment in this case.

    because bitches ain’t shit, and if they feel pushed out of academia by a hostile work environment, that’s just A-OK.

  603. #603 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    This case is but one example of the efforts by some to restrict freedom of speech,

    you’re implying they are connected.

    they are not.

    you’re bloody paranoid, and might want to see someone about that.

    I doubt there is much further to debate here without repetition, so I look forward to following the case to its ultimate outcome.

    ultimate outcome:

    Evans will not get tenure.

    why?

    because he’s a bloody fool for airing this laundry in the public venue, and forcing his department to file disciplinary proceedings against him.

    50/50 he won’t even have a job at UCC in 6 months.

    sad, really, but HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ACADEMIC FREEDOM. In fact, this case has set the fight for academic freedom back, if anything.

  604. #604 memills
    May 19, 2010

    And so, with their arguments exhausted, the discussion degenerates into ad hominems…

  605. #605 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    But, I get the sense that we disagree… ;-)

    snide ass.

  606. #606 memills
    May 19, 2010

    You made my case.

  607. #607 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 19, 2010

    And so, with their arguments exhausted,

    Whereas your cogent argument never got started. It was just WAAAAAHHHH, I might have to not be a boor, and engage in boorish behavior, in my futile and illegal efforts to chase the unworthy women from the faculty…

  608. #608 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    And so, with their arguments exhausted, the discussion degenerates into ad hominems…

    again, only an undergrad wouldn’t know the correct usage of the term “ad hominem”.

    calling you a snide ass is an insult, not an ad hom.

    saying BECAUSE you are a snide ass, your every further utterance will be drivel would be an ad hom.

    so, let me get straight to it before you run away, tail betwixt legs:

    I’m convinced you have nothing relevant to say, and haven’t since your first proclamation here.

    run along and play now, sonny.

  609. #609 memills
    May 19, 2010

    You have all hurt my feelings here, and I feel harassed.

    Freedom of speech is very dangerous. You should not be allowed to do this. You should be punished.

    Oh, the irony.

  610. #610 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    And so, with their arguments exhausted, the discussion degenerates into ad hominems…

    others, suffering from irrational persecution complexes, tend to claim all who disagree with them are merely employing ad hominem to persecute them.

    yeah, we’ve seen it before.

    from creationists, global warming denialists, etc, etc.

  611. #611 SC OM
    May 19, 2010

    are we sure this isn’t Evans as a sockpuppet?

    I thought it might be Lukianoff or someone else at FIRE.

    This case is but one example of

    The problem for you is that you haven’t demonstrated that. No one is denying that there are undue restrictions on academic rights around the world. That doesn’t mean that every case that someone claims is about a violation of academic freedom or freedom of speech really is (Evans’ claims about the Rose matter are a decent example), and they need to be sized up honestly. Surely you know this. In this case, FIRE has not only parroted statements from Evans to the public that are misleading, questionable, or arguably outright false, but also helped him to put himself in an even greater bind and to do real damage to other people. Even if the outcome of the original case is as you desire, the reputation of FIRE has suffered a blow.

    And so, with their arguments exhausted, the discussion degenerates into ad hominems…

    And so, tired after a long Gish Gallop, memills moves on to the next standard in the repertoire. What will be next…?

  612. #612 echidna
    May 19, 2010

    Icthyic,

    I suspect that memills is either a tenured professor in psychology at Loyola, or Evans in disguise. I’d go with the Evans in disguise hypothesis, given that the arguments he is making have the same brainless “shoot from the hip” quality as the Evans who has been advised by his lawyer to STFU.

    Memills,
    explain exactly what academic freedom was infringed in this case. Start with the argument that the paper supports that was so compelling that it needed to be shown around the department.

    By the way, the last time I was involved in an article being shown around the department like that, it was a picture of a naked girl on a motorbike. And yes, this was an academic institution, and was specifically shown to the females to get their reaction.

    Explain to me why this situation was different, other than this one had the cover of being a journal article.

  613. #613 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    And so, tired after a long Gish Gallop, memills moves on to the next standard in the repertoire. What will be next…?

    I see you posted that before reading:

    Oh, the irony.

    ;)

    I thought it might be Lukianoff or someone else at FIRE.

    hmm, yeah, that makes sense.

    The problem for you is that you haven’t demonstrated that.

    indeed. which is what keeps me wondering why it is still here…

  614. #614 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 19, 2010

    I find it amusing that one-note posters like memills can only post their one-note over and over, and not answer any of the cogent questions asked. Personally, they know they are wrong to begin with, and are tacitly admitting that by not answering the questions. You can always show me wrong memills…

  615. #615 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    Freedom of speech is very dangerous. You should not be allowed to do this. You should be punished.
    Oh, the irony.

    “…and another family of strawmen is DESTROYED!”

    -paraphrase of Lewis Black.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwtpMmssKv8

  616. #616 SC OM
    May 19, 2010

    You have all hurt my feelings here, and I feel harassed.

    Freedom of speech is very dangerous. You should not be allowed to do this. You should be punished.

    Policy here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/plonk.php

  617. #617 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    Policy here:

    ROFLMAO

  618. #618 echidna
    May 19, 2010

    Memills is unlikely to be the tenured professor he claims to be. There is no substance to his arguments, and there is a basic cluelessness and shiftiness about him that rings false.

    SC, you think Lukianoff? It’s certainly someone invested in Evans, but left defenceless by the lack of supporting facts.

  619. #619 SC OM
    May 19, 2010

    SC, you think Lukianoff? It’s certainly someone invested in Evans, but left defenceless by the lack of supporting facts.

    That’s what I was thinking before, but I have no idea.

  620. #620 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    I suspect that memills is either a tenured professor in psychology at Loyola

    ah, you mean this guy:

    http://drmills.wiki-site.com/index.php/User:Memills

    actually, I think you nailed it. His interest in evo pysch would have drawn him to this thread.

    if so, it is quite sad he is unwilling and/or unable to support his contention that Evans’ case is important in the struggle for academic freedom, or address ANY of the evidence presented counter to his claim that it does.

    Frankly, if that really is the right Mills, I would much rather discuss his presentations on the evolution of sexually dimorphic behaviors.

    of course that has about as much to do with Evans’ case under discussion here as anything else he’s brought up so far.

    still, I think it would at least be more interesting.

    of course, that’s all assuming we’ve id’d the handle correctly.

  621. #621 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    actually, this link is more direct:

    http://www.drmillslmu.com/index.htm

  622. #622 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    check it, quintessential evo pych, right down to purely darwinian-sytle selection mechanisms proposed:

    http://www.drmillslmu.com/publications/Bernard-Mills-Swenson-Walsh.pdf

    that would be worth an entire thread to debate, I think.

  623. #623 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    …OK, maybe not “purely” darwinian, given its reliance on kin selection and inclusive fitness.

    still… it IS purely selectional.

    OK, enough OT.

  624. #624 echidna
    May 19, 2010

    Thanks Ichthyic, it is an interesting paper….

  625. #625 Sven DiMilo
    May 19, 2010

    oh, my
    Evolutionary psychologists circling the wagons to protect one of their own? At this point?
    Big mistake. Worse than being fooled once.

  626. #626 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    Thanks Ichthyic, it is an interesting paper….

    I plan to devote an hour or two to reading it today, in fact.

    I can imagine any number of discussions I have had over the last several years that it would be worth adding in to stir the pot.

  627. #627 memills
    May 19, 2010

    Careful who you show it to. It might upset a creationist. ;-)

  628. #628 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    so that IS you?

    I can think of many other than creationists sociobiology tends to upset.

    *looks up to see if bloghost is watching*

    If that is you, why not pop over to this open thread:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/05/episode_lvii_cooking_and_argum.php

    in a few hours after I have finished reading this paper.

    I’m sure many would be far more interested in debating the merits of evo psych with you than hearing your inappropriately placed screeds regarding academic freedom in this thread.

    That’s an open thread, and would likely attract the handful of pharyngulites that have debated this issue previously.

  629. #629 echidna
    May 19, 2010

    Here’s another clue for you all…

    memills’ first post is stamped at 2:28am. I’m not sure which US timezone scienceblogs uses, but assuming Minnesota time, the times memills is posting would be awkward for someone in LA (such as someone at Loyola), but not awkward for Ireland (first post would be 8:30 am).

    Therefore, I’m inclined to think the memills posting here is NOT the Loyola professor of evolutionary psychology.

  630. #630 Carlie
    May 19, 2010

    I’d bet anybody 50 bucks that if the situation had been that this entire thing happened exactly as described, but she didn’t file the complaint and then Evans went on to rape her after offering her a ride home one day, memills would be in the front of the line accusing her of being completely stupid for not seeing it coming based on his obviously inappropriate prior behavior.

  631. #631 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    Therefore, I’m inclined to think the memills posting here is NOT the Loyola professor of evolutionary psychology.

    *sigh*

    well, it was worth a shot.

  632. #632 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    Here’s another clue for you all…

    …the Walrus was Paul?

  633. #633 echidna
    May 19, 2010

    Just peeling back the layers of the glass onion.

  634. #634 echidna
    May 19, 2010

    well, it was worth a shot.

    I could still be wrong. Mills could be visiting Europe…

  635. #635 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    oh, and that paper is longer than I thought.

    it’s a fucking old-sytle monograph!

    gonna take me a couple days to get through it.

    of course, on cursory glance, it’s little more than a review and proposed thesis, rather than containing anything experimental. STill, I plan to wade through it anyway. I AM a selectionist, after all.

  636. #636 echidna
    May 19, 2010

    *jumps to feet*
    Wait as second, GOATS ON FIRE! If memills is really Evans pretending to be Mills (it’s not a random name, now, is it?), then this is another data point. Quite an important one involving acceptable behaviour.

    PZ is in a position to know if the posts are coming from the same place. PZ?

  637. #637 Sven DiMilo
    May 19, 2010

    Aw, I don’t think memills is Evans.
    It could be somebody from FIRE though. (That organization makes my spider-sense tingle for some reason.)

  638. #638 echidna
    May 19, 2010

    Hmm.

    FIRE is based in the US, the timing of the posts fits Europe better.
    One thing that sets my spider-sense tingling though, is the way memills ambiguously allowed Ichthyic to draw the conclusion about being the professor from Loyola, neither confirming or denying, just encouraging the belief.

    It seems an Evansy thing to do, given the way he claims he did/didn’t set up the petition, and did/didn’t release confidential documents.

    But I wouldn’t be surprised, or unhappy, if I am wrong. Just corrected.

  639. #639 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    But I wouldn’t be surprised, or unhappy, if I am wrong. Just corrected.

    it seems we will never know for sure…

  640. #640 echidna
    May 19, 2010

    it seems we will never know for sure…

    No, it seems not. The reasonable position seems to be then, until further data comes to hand, that memills is likely not the LA prof, but someone else probably in Europe, identity unknown.

  641. #641 memills
    May 19, 2010

    Expert textpert, choking smokers,
    Don’t you think the joker laughs at you?
    (Ho-ho-ho! Hee-hee-hee! Ha-ha-ha!)

  642. #642 echidna
    May 19, 2010

    Either you have something to contribute, or you don’t.

    I told you about the fool on the hill,
    I tell you man he living there still.

  643. #643 echidna
    May 19, 2010

    Well, now there is more data to hand.

    It’s 4am in Dublin at the moment, which throws my Europe hypothesis out the window. Undergraduate humour at work here, it seems.
    *sigh*.

  644. #644 memills
    May 19, 2010

    I did. In response, I got heckled and harassed.
    (Note how this thread has emptied, except for
    a small clique with the same opinions.)

    Living is easy with eyes closed,
    Misunderstanding all you see.

  645. #645 memills
    May 19, 2010

    Can’t sleep. Anybody got an Ambien?

  646. #646 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    I got heckled and harassed.

    heckled?

    why shouldn’t you have been, given how off base you were?

    harassed?

    you obviously don’t know the meaning of the word, along with what ad hominem means.

    see #610 for further commentary.

    seek ye a physician.

  647. #647 memills
    May 19, 2010

    I guess you believe the host of this blog is off base, too.

    See posts #149 & #250 for further commentary.

  648. #648 SC OM
    May 19, 2010

    Note how this thread has emptied,

    Well, I’ve seen Brent in action:

    [warning: long thread]

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/03/the_empirical_evidence_for_man.php

    You’re no Brent.

    You’re not even a Tim Curtin:

    [warning: long thread]

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/03/tim_curtin_thread.php

    You’ll have to try a bit harder. Yawn.

  649. #649 Ichthyic
    May 20, 2010

    I guess you believe the host of this blog is off base, too.

    you’re just figuring that out now??

    so, you’re dense on multiple levels then?

    for your reference:

    yes, we occasionally DO disagree with the blog owner.

    none of us is sacred here.

    PZ is an excellent writer; often with extremely well thought out arguments.

    it’s one of the reasons I come here.

    the other is that many of the commenters are just as good at it, even if they don’t have their own blogs (some actually do).

    so, you fail here on multiple levels:

    -you don’t understand the blog host

    -you don’t understand the community

    -you missed the thrust of the thread

    -you presented no support for the idea that this really is a case we should be concerned about wrt academic freedom

    -you thought all of us were in agreement on everything

    -you didn’t even bother to research Evans’ case yourself.

    -you assumed none of us were interested in preserving academic freedoms…

    sweet jebus, man, just how much more wrongness do you want to add to this list, before you say “mea culpa” and either admit your errors or bow out?

  650. #650 memills
    May 20, 2010

    Don’t know about Brent or Tim (or why that’s relevant).

    I do feel in good company with PZ Myers, who is in my camp on this issue.

    (I know, I know. You know PZ Myers, and I’m no PZ Myers. I can dream, tho…)

  651. #651 SC OM
    May 20, 2010

    I guess you believe the host of this blog is off base, too.

    You guess? That’s not obvious? It’s always interesting that the people who rattle on about independent thought are so often shocked that anyone here would disagree with PZ or Dawkins and try to use it like it’s a “Gotcha!” Sad.

  652. #652 memills
    May 20, 2010

    That is really some excellent arugmentation there, Ichthyic.

    And, I need some sleep… almost dawn here.

  653. #653 SC OM
    May 20, 2010

    Don’t know about Brent or Tim (or why that’s relevant).

    They make for better entertainment.

    I do feel in good company with PZ Myers, who is in my camp on this issue.

    Ah, the argument from authority. Dennett’s in your “camp” as well, apparently. Guess that makes you right.

    Now where’s my logical fallacy bingo card…?

  654. #654 Ichthyic
    May 20, 2010

    And, I need some sleep… almost dawn here.

    I truly hope that’s a legit excuse for your poor showing here.

    that, or you don’t bother coming back.

    judging by how you started off, I’d say you’re probably better off trying to find a blog where people respond better to cries of “once more into the breach!” without bothering to think.

  655. #655 memills
    May 20, 2010

    Are you folks this charming and persuasive in person?

  656. #656 SC OM
    May 20, 2010

    Can’t seem to tear yourself away, can you?

  657. #657 Ichthyic
    May 20, 2010

    Are you folks this charming and persuasive in person?

    project much?

  658. #658 echidna
    May 20, 2010

    I’m always charming and persuasive ;)

  659. #659 memills
    May 20, 2010

    Can’t seem to tear yourself away, can you?

    I find you quite fetching. Er, wait… I meant that in a purely platonic, intellectual way… Entirely professional.

    Wadayasay we all put down the torches, and have lunch. On me. Raise your glasses. Cheers — to free spee… er, to a safe workplace…

    Oh, heck. We showed up, and that’s half the battle. Peace.

  660. #660 echidna
    May 20, 2010

    sweet jebus, man, just how much more wrongness do you want to add to this list, before you say “mea culpa” and either admit your errors or bow out?

    No mea culpa, but hey…

  661. #661 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 20, 2010

    Yawn, when trolls like memill have nothing cogent to say, they still say it and often sound drunk in doing so. What idjits. Tis better to be silent and have folks think you are stupid, than to open your mouth and proven them right.

  662. #662 Sven DiMilo
    May 20, 2010

    Still a travesty.

    Now over 3500 duped signatories to the petition “Stop UCC from abusing its harassment policy to limit academic freedom,” despite the clear facts that the policy was followed, not ‘abused’, and that nobody’s ‘academic freedom’ has been ‘limited’ in any way.

    Due solely to Evans’s successful attempt at self-publicity and his (“alleged”) posting of the confidential documentation, the complainant has been identified by name and, right here in this thread alone, called a “manipulative lying bitch” and (in a typically nuanced treatment from Abbie) a “pussy” for making a good-faith, non-malicious complaint of sexual harassment, which the independent investigation upheld (in part).

    Meanwhile, none of those, like PZ, Dennett, Dawkins, and Pinker, who reacted rashly to Evans’s misinformation and thereby badly exacerbated the consequences, have had the class to apologize or admit to second thoughts on the matter. (Kinsella, Josh, and Walton excepted.)

    Now the badly spun and slanted version of the case is being hobby-horsed by misogynists, libertarians, and anti-PC wingnuts, all of whom seem willfully ignorant of the actual facts.

    A fucking travesty all around.

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