Lund University in Sweden is investigating one of its renowned neuroscience professors because he told a group of his students there are biological differences between men and women.
Dr. Germund Hesslow was accused by a student of making "transphobic" and "anti-feminist" statements during one of his lectures. The professor, who received his Ph.D. in neuroscience in 1987, has refused to withdraw his comments or make an apology.
The website RT reports Hesslow was teaching his course 'Heritage and Environment' at the university when he cited verifiable research which supports the scientific conclusion that differences between men and women are "biologically founded" and therefore genders cannot be regarded as "social constructs alone".
The complaining student implied Hesslow's comments were against the Swedish "value base," which requires all schools in the Scandinavian country to adhere to a policy upholding values that include egalitarianism, individual freedom, and equality of the sexes.
Hesslow said that some students, "for ideological reasons," don't like to hear certain scientific facts about biological differences between men and women. He said that the comments which prompted the complaint were not even necessarily part of his course material, but that they were answers to students' questions during the course of the lecture.
"If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn't," Hesslow said in an interview with RT.
Hesslow was called to a meeting with the university's chairman of the board for medical education after a female student complained that he had expressed his "personal anti-feminist agenda," according to Academic Rights Watch.
As a result of the meeting, Hesslow was asked to "distance" himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a "male sexual orientation" and that whether transsexuality is a sexual orientation is "a matter of definition".
The professor has refused to retract his comments, saying that he had "done enough" already to "explain and defend" his choice of words, according to RT.
"At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether," he said in a written reply to the program chairman.
In his reply, Hesslow also denied he had a "political agenda" and said his only agenda was to let scientific fact, not new conventional wisdom, steer university proceedings.
"Ideology, politics, and prejudice form the conventional outlook, not science," he said.
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