The lesson for the day is…


Sex. Today I have to lecture my genetics students about sex. On Monday I explained to them how simple Mendelian inheritance isn’t the whole of genetics, that it’s much more complicated than you can possibly imagine, and now I have to explain to them that everything they know about sex is a gross oversimplification. I’m hoping everyone comes out of this course confused and uncertain, since that’s the proper state of mind for learning.

Also, I’m giving them a take-home exam. Am I the most evil college professor in the universe or what?

For further confusion, I pharyngulated myself and put up a poll on YouTube. I’ll look at it later this afternoon and heed the voice of the people.

Comments

  1. chrislawson says

    You mean the heritability of a handful of traits in peas is not a complete theory of reproductive biology?

    (Side note: I recently learned that Mendel started working with mice and only moved to peas after his bishop disapproved of the animal sex necessary for the experiments.)

  2. says

    Everything you wanted to know about sex but were afraid to ask, or

    More than you ever wanted to know about sex because you never thought of asking.. . .

  3. KG says

    chrislawson@1,

    He should have carried out wedding ceremonies for the mice before letting them hook up! And, of course, forbidden them contraceptives of any kind.

  4. PaulBC says

    I have to explain to them that everything they know about sex is a gross oversimplification. I’m hoping everyone comes out of this course confused and uncertain, since that’s the proper state of mind for learning.

    Once you’ve perfected it for college students, maybe you can take this curriculum to middle school just for the lulz.

  5. StonedRanger says

    A take home test on sex? I wonder how long before someone accuses you of sexual harassment. Personally, I love the idea of take home tests. Maybe you can take this curriculum and give it to our congressfolks. It seems they could use it.

  6. magistramarla says

    Oh, how I wish we could upload pictures here!
    Last evening, as we were watching TV, my husband noticed that the light came on over our patio.
    He went to check, and stood at the patio door, laughing.
    There were two raccoons having sex on the patio! They saw us watching them, but didn’t run.
    We both snapped pictures, and then gave them their privacy.
    It seems to me that your students would appreciate the picture that I took.

  7. inflection says

    All my exams are take-home these days. I’ve started feeling like what I want my students to do is know enough to answer the questions… knowing enough to answer the questions fast, or within the hour devoted to a class, is an irrelevant extra which is a barrier for some students anyway that has to be accommodated. Might as well make it all a more thorough demonstration without a snap time constraint.

  8. leerudolph says

    chrislawson@1: “only moved to peas after his bishop disapproved of the animal sex necessary for the experiments”

    We’re lucky video hadn’t been invented yet; just imagine what would have happened if his bishop had seen the pea tape.

  9. PaulBC says

    … and for that matter wouldn’t Blood, Sweat, and Tears work better, at least broaching the subject of bodily fluids.

  10. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Huh, you’d think gifting the joke setup of a “take-home exam on Sex” would make up for it.

  11. unclefrogy says

    raccoons know that humans are rarely any danger to them and usually move away reluctantly while possums on the other hand must know they look too rate like to be thought of a cute and scurry off silently as fast as they can .
    uncle frogy

  12. PaulBC says

    Am I the most evil college professor in the universe or what?

    Newt Gingrich was once a college professor, so I can safely answer this question in the negative. (And I am probably missing someone a lot worse.)

  13. PaulBC says

    Susan Montgomery@22 Well I wasn’t sure if you thought PZ should be teaching alchemy (though, not to get hung up on the fluids again, but you’re missing that crucial element: Water). I am pretty certain that even humans have managed to reproduce without musical accompaniment, let alone other creatures.

  14. PaulBC says

    Susan Montgomery@22 I was trying to find an Earth, Wind, and Fire song I recognized, but have so far failed. I must have heard some in my childhood. I used to hear Blood, Sweat, and Tears’ Spinning Wheel all the time as a kid and got the lyrics stuck in my head. It was only about two years ago listening to it again that I noticed the horns, which seem like the whole point really.

  15. JimB says

    Just a suggestion PZ. But you might consider running some of your word choices by Mary. This is in reference to your poll.

    Some years ago a very dear friend of mine turned to me and said
    “Jim. I don’t DYE my hair. I COLOR it!
    Also.
    Douches have FRAGRENCES! Not FLAVORS!”

    I’ve gotta admit. I’ve remembered it to this day…

  16. PaulBC says

    “Douches have FRAGRENCES! Not FLAVORS!” (That’s got to be worked into a Lucifer script somehow, re Detective Douche)

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