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Ex-Gay Studies: Clip from Rachel Maddow Show Last Night


bcohen7719
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Rachel Maddow interviews the author who had interviewed Dr. Robert Spitzer,

noted for what became known as "The Spitzer Study." This study 'proved' that

homosexuals can change their sexual orientation.

 

Dr. Spitzer then retracted his study in that interview. This is not new news,

but this interesting clip aired last night.

 

BC

 

bing.com/videos/watch/video/curing-homosexuality-totally-baseless/6rb0qxu

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Here's the article on which her show was based:

 

http://prospect.org/article/my-so-called-ex-gay-life

 

I'm glad the author of the study admitted its flaws. However, I agree with the journal's decision not to retract. Retractions are done when there is some kind of fraud involved in the data collection effort (or some major methodological flaw) that invalidate all the results presented in the paper. From the summaries I've read, the problems appear to be biased self report data and/or trumped up conclusions. Lying or forgetting is a problem with any paper based on self report data, especially in a journal that deals with sexual issues. The journal's audience is well aware of that. Trumped up conclusions based on the evidence presented are also common in papers. This isn't grounds for a retraction since the reader can figure this out for himself by comparing the results with the conclusions, something all social science PhD students are trained to do.

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Here's the article on which her show was based:

 

http://prospect.org/article/my-so-called-ex-gay-life

 

I'm glad the author of the study admitted its flaws. However, I agree with the journal's decision not to retract. Retractions are done when there is some kind of fraud involved in the data collection effort (or some major methodological flaw) that invalidate all the results presented in the paper. From the summaries I've read, the problems appear to be biased self report data and/or trumped up conclusions. Lying or forgetting is a problem with any paper based on self report data, especially in a journal that deals with sexual issues. The journal's audience is well aware of that. Trumped up conclusions based on the evidence presented are also common in papers. This isn't grounds for a retraction since the reader can figure this out for himself by comparing the results with the conclusions, something all social science PhD students are trained to do.

 

Freshfluff:

 

You make good points. In this case there are unique aspects to be considered, but I can't think of any good solution. Conversion/reparative therapy organizations, preying upon religious parents, are said to cite the Spitzer study in their flyers and sales pitches. The damage they do to gay youth is so dreadful. And to boot, I don't think these organizations care if there are any critical follow-up studies--they'd just cite the original article. Within the framework of scientific publishing, I agree with you completely--it is the job of follow-up studies to disprove flakey preceding studies. In this case I think we'd have to think outside of the box. I can't think of anything judicious and appropriate and efficacious myself at this late hour....

 

BC

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BC, I thought about your point. But the bottom line is that, retraction or no, Exodus will never have much trouble convincing parents who desperately want to believe that their child can become straight.

 

From what I understand, reparative therapists' bread and butter are religious parents who panic when they hear their children are gay. When they Google something like "gay to straight therapy," they already come across at least one news story saying that Spitzer "retracted" his article. They also comes across many others saying that orientation change is impossible. The parents who keep pursuing the issue are looking for any kind of hope, and having the journal itself retract the article wouldn't make much difference to them. NARTH/Exodus would just spin such a retraction as a triumph of political correctness over science and point to its own shoddy own pay-to-publish studies.

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The parents most likely to send their kids to reparative therapy aren't exactly the googling sort to begin with. They'll take their information from the pulpit, where God meant people to take their information. Neither the parents, nor the pulpit, will really give a crap about either Spitzer's original study or his recanting. They'll believe the therapy is effective because science holds no sway over faith.

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The parents most likely to send their kids to reparative therapy aren't exactly the googling sort to begin with. They'll take their information from the pulpit, where God meant people to take their information. Neither the parents, nor the pulpit, will really give a crap about either Spitzer's original study or his recanting. They'll believe the therapy is effective because science holds no sway over faith.

 

Yes, their views on the morality of homosexuality come from the pulpit. But any "fix" would be based as much on (psuedo-) science as on faith, and the parent knows this. So our hypothetical parent's first reaction upon learning that their son is gay is the same as what anyone from any background does when he faces a problem: She Googles to see what solutions are out there. (In fact, the author of the article says his mother searched the net and printed out what she found. And that was around 1999.)

 

However, my conclusion is the same as yours: that most parents who would turn to exodus have such strong views about this topic that they're not going to give up hope regardless of what some scientific journal about sex tells them.

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These so-called ex-gay ministries lie to everyone that they can cure homosexuality, in direct conflict with the Ten Commandments. They treat gayness as an addiction and the best that they can hope for is not to act on their homosexual urges. Many of these ex-gays are successful at this, such as Marcus Bachmann, but it still doesn't eliminate the desire or change them into heterosexuals.

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