APA Bans Duke Professor From Email List After He Asks ‘Is There a Z Chromosome?’

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A binary perspective towards sex has caused the Division 6 of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Society for Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology (SBNCP) to cancel a professor after he asked sarcastically if there were a “Z Chromosome.”
A binary perspective towards sex has caused the Division 6 of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Society for Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology (SBNCP) to cancel a professor after he asked sarcastically if there were a “Z Chromosome.” (Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

John Staddon, a professor of psychology and neuroscience from Duke University has been booted off an American Psychological Association (APA) Division 6/Society for Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology (SBNCP) email list for expressing his scientifically sound opinion that sex is binary. The situation gained attention from the National Association of Scholars (NAS), who posted Staddon’s email from the SBNCP presidential trio in an article titled Cancel Culture in the Sciences: A Case Study.

Staddon’s comment, which pushed him across the SBNCP Division 6 level of tolerance, questioned, “Hmm … binary view of sex false? What is the evidence? Is there a Z chromosome?”

Jonathan Crystal, professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University emailed Staddon telling him that he violated the SBNCP’s Code of Conduct and that he would be removed from the listserv.

The Code of Conduct states that the SBNCP “promotes a welcoming environment at conferences that is safe, collaborative, supportive, and productive for all attendees.” It goes on to claim that the SBNCP “respects and values the diversity of views, expertise, opinions, backgrounds, and experiences reflected among all members of the Society,” and that members are to “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,” the Code of Conduct stated. 

“However, those differences and disagreements can be conveyed in ways that do not make other people feel threatened, demeaned, discriminated against, or harassed. Communicate openly and thoughtfully with others and be considerate of views and opinions that are different than your own.” 

The article from NAS exposing this manifestation of cancel culture stated that their purpose was “part of a broader NAS effort to counter cancel culture in higher education. We publish it to provide a succinct example of how a cancellation occurs in real time.” They urged “readers who are unacquainted with the cases [not] to rush forward with emails, letters, or posts.” Instead they requested that readers “weigh the facts and check our accounts against other sources. If you then agree that a college or university has acted in bad faith or counter to the core principles of liberal inquiry, then we do indeed urge you to speak up.”

The email from Crystal advising Staddon he would be removed from the community stated, “The division leadership has received complaints about some of the posts that you have sent to the division listserv. 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.”

Staddon rebutted, “I have never insulted anyone; no ad hominem criticism (unlike those to whom you are responding—rather cravenly, I must add). I 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. The APA has been going downhill for some time. I thought that Div 6 might a holdout. Alas, it was not to be!”

The APA has long since taken a politically correct position on the subject of gender roles. In 2019, the APA published the “first-ever guidelines for practice with men and boys,” which claimed that “traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful.”

  • David Wagner is a University of Manitoba graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion in Sociology. He is interested in the psychology of religious and ideological belief and the relationship between religions and the state in totalitarian countries.