An emeritus professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University has been removed from an American Psychological Association (APA) email group for suggesting there are only two sexes.
John Staddon was removed from the Society for Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology Division 6 listserv, which is overseen by the APA, after posing a series of questions to the group that apparently “upset others,” The College Fix reported.
Staddon told the outlet that the post he believes resulted in his removal from the group was one in which he asked: “Hmm… Binary view of sex false? What is the evidence? Is there a Z chromosome?”
Staddon was informed of his removal in an email from the presidential trio of the APA division, who said they had received complaints against him.
“The division leadership has received complaints about some of the posts that you have sent to the division listserv,” wrote Jonathon Crystal, a provost and professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University-Bloomington. “I do not want to get into the particulars of the range of complaints over the years, but I will note that a number of members of the executive committee and others have voiced concerns publicly on the listserv in an attempt to make you aware of how readers of the list might view some of the posts.”
“The executive committee views the use of the division listserv as a privilege and has voted to remove you from the listserv. I am writing to inform you that your email address has been removed from the listserv,” Crystal added.
Crystal also referred Staddon to the division’s code of conduct policy, which was adopted in 2019 and states:
Treat everyone with respect and consideration. It is acceptable in a scientific organization and at scientific meetings for members to have strong differences of opinion or different theoretical perspectives on aspects of psychological science. However, those differences and disagreements can be conveyed in ways that do not make other people feel threatened, demeaned, discriminated against, or harassed.
That policy, the Fix noted, also states, “Recognize that attendees will be at different points in their respective careers, and that it is important to support student and early career attendees, even in cases where you may have differences of opinion.”
Staddon responded to Crystal by saying he had “never insulted anyone; no ad hominem criticism (unlike those to whom you are responding—rather cravenly, I must add),” though he admitted he “may have been a bit flippant on occasion.”
“It is sad that an audience of supposed scientists is unable to take any dissenting view, such as the suggestion that there really are only two sexes. Incredible! I don’t mind having one less distraction, but I think you should really be concerned at Div 6’s unwillingness to tolerate divergent views,” Staddon wrote in his response.
Staddon published the two on the National Association of Scholars website under the headline, “Cancel Culture in the Sciences: A Case Study.”
Staddon told the Fix in an email, “This incident just illustrates the current inability of some scientific communities to tolerate dissent about issues related to sex and race,” adding that “Psychology and sociology seem to be especially flawed in this respect.”