Barry X. Kuhle Ph.D.

Evolutionary Entertainment

Homo Professoris, Part VI

(Some) students need to stop being such wussies

Posted Nov 05, 2015

Pretty cool moment yesterday in my Evolutionary Psychology course. I was lecturing on Robert Trivers' reciprocal altruism theory (1971) and how vampire bat “friends” save each other’s lives by sharing regurgitated blood when one of them is unsuccessful on the nightly hunt (Wilkinson, 1984).

A bright, cool student in the front row raised his hand and began talking about his research with vampire bats. At one point I was so intrigued I told him to get up, give me his seat, and replace me at the lectern. He gladly obliged and regaled the entire class for 10 minutes with detailed stories of his summer research in Panama with two of my Biology Department colleagues. How he caught dozens of vampire bats, in the rain soaked jungle, miles and miles from civilization, in the dark of the night...all to collect a slew of measurements on these fierce, feisty critters with fear-inducing fangs. Fascinating stuff!

At my prompting, he then detailed the many dangers of his field research. From the blood sucking bats, deadly snakes, killer bees, army ants, huge scorpions, and scary insects of infinite varieties, to name but a few of the many bona fide dangers this educational experience posed. And how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat. But maybe not tell his parents about the killer snakes and such this time. :)

When he finished and I returned to the lectern all I could think about was that there’s a Sociology / Women’s Studies double major in America who’s about to complain to her Mommy, Daddy, Diversity Officer, and The Dean of Students that a professor endangered her well-being because he taught a topic—sans trigger warning!!!—that made her feel uncomfortable and unsafe. I then proceeded to poke my eyeballs out with my laser pointer.

Please, folks: raise your children to be bold and brave. Not victim-mongering whiny little wussies.

Thanks a bunch!

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Trivers, R. L. (1971). The evolution of reciprocal altruism. Quarterly Review of Biology, 46, 35-57.

Wilkinson, G. W. (1984). Reciprocal food sharing in the vampire bat. Nature, 308, 181-184.   

My other posts in this ongoing series:

Homo professoris, Part I: The Nasal Groom

Homo professoris, Part II: The Email Reply

Homo professoris, Part III: The 'Show Me Your Big D' Lecture

Homo professoris, Part IV: Survival of The Blender Avoider?

Homo professoris, Part V: The Born Again Evangelical Atheist

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of Psychology Today and the University of Scranton, or me, and certainly not the views of my friends, family, probation officer, gut bacteria, darkest thoughts, and personal mohel.

Copyright © 2015 Barry X. Kuhle. All rights reserved.