Dylan Evans

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Dylan Evans
Born (1966-08-18) 18 August 1966 (age 52)
Bristol, United Kingdom
ResidenceCork, Ireland
Alma materLondon School of Economics PhD, 2000
Known forEmotion
AwardsBritish Medical Association Medical Book Competition (2003)
Scientific career
FieldsBehavioural science
InstitutionsUniversidad Francisco Marroquin 2012

American University of Beirut 2012
University College Cork 2008–2011
University of the West of England 2003–2006
University of Bath 2001–2003

King's College London 2000–2001
Doctoral advisorJohn Worrall
Nicholas Humphrey

Dylan Evans (born August 18th, 1966) is a British former academic and author who has written books on emotion and the placebo effect as well as the theories of Jacques Lacan.

Life and career[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

Evans was born in Bristol on 29 September 1966 and went to school at Sevenoaks School and West Kent College of Further Education. His father is an aircraft engineer, his mother is a teacher. [1]

At Southampton University he studied Spanish and Linguistics and later he received his doctorate in philosophy from the London School of Economics.[1]

Evans is an atheist and also writes and gives lectures on atheism and related topics.[2] He contributed an article to The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity arguing that psychology has shown atheism to be a better explanation of the human mind than theism.

Academic career[edit]

Evans was a psychoanalyst in the style of Jacques Lacan, and wrote a standard reference work in the field. After several years, however, Evans eventually came to doubt the logical and scientific validity of Lacanianism, and ultimately abandoned the field because he was worried Lacanianism harmed rather than helped patients.[3] Evans worked at the University of Bath and the University of the West of England in artifical intelligence.[1] Evans resigned from the position of senior lecturer at the University of the West of England to start a project in sustainable living called the Utopia Experiment.

Evans was briefly a lecturer in Behavioural Science in the School of Medicine at University College Cork. In 2010 the university gave him the "President's Award for Research on Innovative Forms of Teaching" for his Cork Science Cafe project (together with colleague Catherine O'Mahony).[4]

Risk intelligence is one of his research areas.[5]

On 15 September 2010, Evans, along with 54 other public figures, signed an open letter published in The Guardian, stating their opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to the UK.[6]

In spring 2010 Evans was accused of sexual harassment of a colleague, Rossana Salerno Kennedy,[7] by showing her a published article about oral sex among fruit bats. His employer imposed a "two-year period of monitoring and appraisal under the university's duty of respect and 'right to dignity' policy," leading Evans to mount a campaign, attracting more than 3000 petition signatures, defending the principle of freedom of expression.[8] In the course of the campaign, confidential documents were leaked, and UCC launched disciplinary action against Evans for alleged breach of confidentiality.[9] Disciplinary proceedings were halted when Evans applied for judicial review at the Irish High Court.[10] On 1 December 2010 the High Court quashed the sanctions imposed on Evans by the President of UCC, which the judge described as "grossly disproportionate", and awarded costs to Evans.[11] The Court upheld the original finding of harassment, but the judge pointed out that "there can be different forms of sexual harassment, ranging from highly objectionable to mildly objectionable" and that "this was at the very lower end of the scale in this case." [12] UCC responded by issuing a statement stating that they were satisfied with the High Court's decision to uphold the original harassment finding, and they declared their intention to proceed with disciplinary proceedings against Evans for alleged breach of confidence. [13]

The Utopia Experiment[edit]

From 2006 he spent a while running the "Utopia Experiment"[14] in the Highlands of Scotland.[1][15][16][17][18] This was to be a self-sufficient group of people growing their own food, with no television and limited use of electricity for eighteen months.[15][dead link][16] After 10 months Evans had become disillusioned with the project and concerned about their health. He went to see a doctor who referred him to a psychiatrist. Evans was then detained under the Mental Health Act for his own safety. After 4 weeks in a psychiatric hospital he returned to the experiment to inform the volunteers that it was over. However, they wished for the community to continue and renamed it the Phoenix Experiment. As of 2015 some of them were still there.[19]

Selected publications[edit]


  • The Utopia Experiment (2015)
  • Atheism: All That Matters (2014)
  • Risk Intelligence: How to Live with Uncertainty (2012)
  • Emotion, Evolution and Rationality (2004)
  • Placebo: The Belief Effect (2003)[20]
  • Introducing Evolution (2001)
  • Emotion: The Science of Sentiment (2001)[21]
  • Introducing Evolutionary Psychology (1999)
  • An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis (1996)


  1. ^ a b c d Dylan Evans: Biography Archived 22 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Dylan Evans, "No God, but value in art of worship", Sydney Morning Herald, 4 May 2005]
  3. ^ Evans, Dylan "[www.dylan.org.uk/lacan.pdf From Lacan to Darwin]", in The Literary Animal; Evolution and the Nature of Narrative, eds. Jonathan Gottschall and David Sloan Wilson, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2005
  4. ^ Hannah Fearn, "Surprise twist in 'fruitbatgate' row", Times Higher Education, 18 November 2010
  5. ^ How's your risk intelligence? Archived 21 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Mark Henderson, The Times, 18 January 2010, retrieved 17 May 2010
  6. ^ "Letters: Harsh judgments on the pope and religion". The Guardian. London. 15 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  7. ^ Katherine Donnelly, "Woman in bat-sex row is expert nutritionist," The Independent, 18 May 2010
  8. ^ Hannah Fearn, "Sex life of fruit bat lands lecturer in hot water", Times Higher Education, 17 May 2010
  9. ^ Hannah Fearn, "Disciplinary proceedings halted in 'fruitbatgate' case", Times Higher Education Supplement, 5. July 2010
  10. ^ Daniel O'Carroll, "Fruit-bat-gate lecturer begins legal battle over sexual harassment", Irish Scentral, 2. Jule 2010
  11. ^ "Bill No: 2010 750 JR" "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 July 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Bill No: 2010 750 JR" "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 July 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "UCC lecturer has sanctions quashed" http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/1201/breaking66.html
  14. ^ http://www.hungertv.com/feature/dylan-evans-utopia-experiment/
  15. ^ a b The Utopia Experiment: A radical crash course in self-sufficient living, James Durston, The Independent, 19 July 2007, retrieved 17 May 2010 Archived 9 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ a b http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/article672632.ece Home is where the yurt is..., Anjana Ahuja The Times, 8 June 2006, retrieved 18 May 2009
  17. ^ Apocalypse now, Ross Anderson, The Times, 26 April 2007, retrieved 18 May 2007
  18. ^ "The aim was to set up an idyllic rural commune, so how did things go so horribly wrong?", Jane Fryer, The Daily Mail, 29 June 2007
  19. ^ https://www.npr.org/2015/09/11/439482149/my-private-utopia
  20. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/profile/dylanevans
  21. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/profile/dylanevans

External links[edit]