So what happened to Prof. Dylan Evans of University College Cork surprises me. I'll just repost his letter so you get the whole story:
Dear Colleagues,If someone gets upset for you bringing up something sexual (that's relevant) during a biology discussion, something is wrong. Just because us humans like to be puritanical about things doesn't mean nature follows suit. I've blogged before at the diversity of sexual behavior in living organisms - we shouldn't be ignoring that because "oral sex" sounds gross or sinful. It's still part of the discussion, whether you like it or not.
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:
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
Republic of Ireland.
Your support would be greatly appreciated.
I wonder what would have happened if Dr. Evans showed this colleague papers about homosexuality, polygamy, rape, necrophilia, traumatic insemination... I'm betting on fainting and pearl clutching.