Friday, August 18, 2006

"Ex-Gay" Label To Be Retired

The other day when I was chasing down some information about NARTH's protest at the APA convention I saw something that looked interesting at Warren Throckmorton's blog. Throckmorton, you know, is a psychologist who specializes in helping gay people stop being gay. Well, he's learned to be careful how he says it, and I think he would say they should only try to change if they really want to change, not that there's anything wrong with being gay. He paints himself into a corner, but we'll take that up a different day.

Anyway, there was a really kind of interesting online reunion of a bunch of the founders of the "ex-gay" movement in his comments section.

It started with a post by Throckmorton talking about a discussion he was having about the "founders" of EXODUS International, a big "ex-gay" organization.

As a way of setting this up, here's some background. Throckmorton had written an article that said:
Exodus International is a distinctly religious organization offering services and referrals to people who experience conflict between their sexual feelings and Christian beliefs. However, detractors, such as Mr. [Wayne] Besen, often say that the message and mission of Exodus is compromised due to the failure of the co-founders of the organization to remain heterosexual. Mr. Besen claims that Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper were the co-founders of Exodus International but left the organization to become gay partners.

The second claim is true. As documented in the 1992 film One Nation Under God, these two men did indeed leave their families in 1979 and participated in a commitment ceremony in 1982.

However, the first claim is false. Mr. Cooper and Mr. Bussee were not the co-founders of Exodus International. Are Sexual Preferences Changeable?

Throckmorton's article ends up concluding:
Of the five formerly gay men on the original board of Exodus International, four have not reverted to homosexuality.

This is to counter writer Wayne Besen's assertions that the founders of the "ex-gay" concept were unable, themselves, to live up to their own promise. It's a serious charge that does undermine the credibility of the movement.

Apparently, Michael Bussee contacted Throckmorton in email to discuss the founding of Exodus. So Throckmorton wrote about it on his blog, and then a bunch of the other people who were there at the beginning wrote in.

If you care about these things, I suggest you go follow the discussion, as they try to sort out the history of it. In general, it seems that they agree on the main facts, but not exactly on who played what role in the beginning.

Here in Montgomery County we are developing a sex-ed curriculum that will include discussion of sexual orientation, and there is some controversy about whether the schools ought to be forced to tell students about "ex-gays."

So it is pertinent, and remarkable, to read Bussee's report of a discussion he has had with the current president of Exodus, Alan Chambers:
I just got off the phone with Alan Chambers of EXODUS ...

Regarding the term "ex-gay", he gave me permission to quote him:

"We need to do away with the term entirely and make sure it's never used again."

Wow. He sounds like ME.

Well, this is getting good. It is a ridiculous term that causes a lot of wasted argument. It sounds like it means one thing, that gay people stop being gay, but in practice it seems to never mean that.

Bussee continues, farther down:
Meanwhile, for 30 years, EXODUS has stubbornly used the term "ex-gay" -- defending it, re-defining it -- and FINALLY the leader of EXODUS has said what I have been saying all along -- that the term should be "done away with entirely and never used again". It's about time.

I intend to make Alan Chambers' rejection of the term "ex-gay" VERY public. You and EXODUS have a lot of explaining to do.

As for countering Besen's statement above, Bussee says:
Four men (among the original founders) DID continue to act on gay impulses. Gary is one. I am two. My co-worker at EXIT is three and Ed Hurst of Outpost Ministries is four.

In case you're keeping score.

There is some discussion of EXODUS changing their web site, now that some information has been cleared up. Then Bussee writes:
Finally, I am pleased to announce that Alan Chambers has asked me to join him for a joint press conference to officially RETIRE the misleading term "Ex-gay".

That was on July 28th. I haven't heard of any press conference, have you? Well, I'm sure it's coming.

Bussee reports that he contacted Wayne Besen and agrees with him about who the founders were, and then Besen himself comments on the thread.

Another founder of the "ex-gay" phenomenon, Robbi Kenney (who never was gay), joins the discussion, and adds:
Ex-gay was a peg to hang our hats, but us at OUTPOST eventually went on to use the phrase "from a homosexual (or gay) background) in the shimmy to avoid labeling.

Yes, that makes more sense than "ex-gay."

Several commentors -- Bussee, Ed Hurst, and "GrantDale" (who have been known to comment here as well) -- note that they are most comfortable with use of the word "ex-gay" as an adjective, rather than a noun. It is a rather important point. There is a difference between saying "Joe is ex-gay" and to say "Joe is an ex-gay."

Hurst, who was also present in the beginning of EXODUS, wrote:
... a few of us have been having e-mail dialogue outside the site. Nothing secretive; we were just trying to pull the facts together.

Anyway, in one of those e-mails he suggested that Exodus adopt the phrase Sexual Identity Ministry (SIM) to replace "Ex-Gay Ministry". I've thought that one over and it sounds workable to me.

I even thought of a clever catch-phrase "SIM, just a step away from SIN." (Ok, if you don't know me, I am compulsive about word-plays and I also think a little bit of humor helps with a topic this weighty.)

The phrase only applies to the ministry not to the individual. In the past, we might have said "he's an ex-gay guy" where, with SIM, this wouldn't translate. So, I puzzled over what terminology we'd use for the individual and came up with a real winner. How about 'client'?

It's not especially catchy, is it?

Bussee, describing the meaning and intent of the term "ex-gay," writes:
"We" (the ones who came to EXODUS 1) ... wanted three things:

(1) We wanted to know that God loved us,

(2) We wanted to know that there were others like us,

(3) We wanted those damn gay feelings to go away.

We WISHED it would happen. That's what "ex-gay" meant. As Joe Dallas of EXODUS explained it so well, we were "Christians with homoseuxal tendencies who would rather not have those tendencies."

Pay attention to thos words "rather not have".

We got numbers 1 and 2. We know that Jesus loves us and we know we are not alone. But we are still Christians with homosexual tendencies, no matter what else we call ourselves.

Ed Hurst then contributes an interesting discussion comparing a person trying to stop being gay to people who try to quit drugs, gangs, and prostitution. Pretty good analogy. Quitting gay is harder.

The thread peters out after several more back and forths. I'm leaving a lot out -- I know some TTF readers will want to read the whole thing. You have a half-dozen of the originators, critics, and leaders of the "ex-gay" thing chatting, opening up, discussing what has worked and what has not.

This discussion makes it obvious that the concept of "ex-gay" is poorly defined and has been used in ways its originators never intended. Plus, it looks like the word is going into retirement soon.

I hate to state the obvious, but: it is clearer than ever that there is simply no place for this topic in a public school curriculum.

66 Comments:

Blogger Theresa said...

which makes it clearer than ever that you should avoid the whole labeling thing Jim.

Just state that some people have same sex attraction, we don't know why, and leave it at that.


If you do the "born gay" thing, you now are trying to tell already confused teenagers to figure out if they fit in a particular mold at a time when some of believe that they shouldn't be having sex anyway.

August 20, 2006 2:00 AM  
Blogger grantdale said...

Theresa,

What has knowing you've been "born gay" got to do with having sex???

Gay teens are just as capable of refusing or deciding to have sex as any other teens. They are gay because of which sex they are attracted to, not because they ARE having sex.

And I don't think Jim is labeling anyone. He's simply referring to people in the way that they refer to themselves -- gay. It is rude to deliberately do otherwise.

August 20, 2006 10:00 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Theresa, you speak of same sex attraction as if it were acne, or some kind of impairment. The other part of it is that people want to live full, satisfying lives, and maybe even spend their lives with someone they love if they're lucky.

In that case, do you think people with "same-sex attraction," as you call it, should be forced or tricked into spending their lives with someone they do not find attractive? Why not just tell them the truth, that there's nothing wrong with them?

It seems that your logic goes in the right direction, that is, some people do have that orientation (it is more than sexual attraction), but once you acknowledge that, it becomes a problem for you. Why not just accept it and let people be happy?

JimK

August 20, 2006 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To grantdale well no one is born gay so why do you think you should tell children that they are? Way do you refuse to tell these kids that they have options in dealing with there problems instead of saying if you have these feelings then this means that this is who you are? It is not surprising that the people who are always saying that we need to be tolerant of others are not tolerant of people who disagree with them.

August 20, 2006 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Gay teens are just as capable of refusing or deciding to have sex as any other teens. They are gay because of which sex they are attracted to, not because they ARE having sex."

g-dale:

There's no evidence that this attraction is any more immutable or irresistable than any other behavior. It's all a construct to justify a civil liberties' position. Gay advocates should confess this and stop trying to TTF (Teach the fiction) to public school students.

H.A.

August 21, 2006 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In that case, do you think people with "same-sex attraction," as you call it, should be forced or tricked into spending their lives with someone they do not find attractive? Why not just tell them the truth, that there's nothing wrong with them?"

Because that's not true. They've developed an irrational desire to act in a self-destructive way. There's something wrong with them.

H.A.

August 21, 2006 11:42 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Well, H.A., one thing I noticed, reading this discussion among ex-gays and ex-ex-gays, was how differently they talk about it compared to somebody like you. A gay guy who goes to one of these repressive churches really has some soul-searching to do. Some of them really try to think of it like you do, like they've got something wrong with them, like they've made a bad choice. But it looks like it takes constant effort to believe that.

Some of them choose to stay in the church and fight their feelings, but it looks like most learn to accept themselves the way they are. There's nothing necessarily irrational or self-destructive about it.

But my point is, the level of discussion is so much finer among those who know what the feeling is, compared to judgmental bullies like you.

JimK

August 21, 2006 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I hate to state the obvious, but: it is clearer than ever that there is simply no place for this topic in a public school curriculum."

Hate to state the obvious, but: education needs to encompass all the relevant facts and not mislead by exclusion. That's where the Fishback revisions went awry!!

pro-sex-ed

August 21, 2006 4:22 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Anon writes:

"education needs to encompass all the relevant facts and not mislead by exclusion. That's where the Fishback revisions went awry!!"

Anon, could you tell us what "relevant facts" you think were excluded?

August 21, 2006 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon, could you tell us what "relevant facts" you think were excluded?"

1. No one knows what causes same sex attraction (SSA)

2. It's possible that SSA can be lessened or eliminated by purposed resistance or moral instruction and reflection

3. That pursuit of a homosexual lifestyle is associated with a number of undesirable consequences which follow inexorably

4. Historical and current views of most civilized societies toward homosexuality and their potential impact on those who publicly identify as homosexuals

5. That indulgence of homosexual impulses makes them more difficult to overcome

6. That most societies consider heterosexual families with biological children to be an ideal

7. That the inability to function heterosexually could be be consider a disfunction under most definitions

pro-sex-ed

August 22, 2006 8:54 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Anonymous answered my inquiry as follows. My responses are in CAPS.

1. No one knows what causes same sex attraction (SSA).

THE SCIENCE IS INCREASINGLY POINTING TOWARD GENETIC AND HORMONAL CAUSES. WHATEVER THE PRECISE ETIOLOGY (WHICH WOULD BE THE SUBJECT OF A BIOLOGY CLASS, NOT A HEALTH CLASS), THAT KIND OF DISCUSSION WAS NOT DEEMED TO BE NECESSARY, GIVEN THE LIMITED AMOUNT OF TIME AVAILABLE IN THE UNIT.

2. It's possible that SSA can be lessened or eliminated by purposed resistance or moral instruction and reflection.

THE MAINSTREAM MEDICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH COMMUNITY HAS REJECTED SUCH CONVERSION THERAPIES AS DANGEROUS. THEREFORE, IT WOULD BE IRRESPONSIBLE TO INCLUDE SUCH “POSSIBILITIES” IN THE HEALTH CURRICULUM.

3. That pursuit of a homosexual lifestyle is associated with a number of undesirable consequences which follow inexorably.

THE SAME COULD BE SAID OF A HETEROSEXUAL “LIFESTYLE.” THAT IS WHY THE CURRICULUM GENERALLY STRESSES THE DESIRABILITY OF STABLE, MONOGAMOUS SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS. THAT IS TRUE FOR BOTH HETEROSEXUALS AND HOMOSEXUALS. MARGINALIZING ANY GROUP TENDS TO LEAD MEMBERS OF THE GROUP TO ENGAGE IN SELF-DESTRUCTIVE OR DANGEROUS ACTIVITIES.

4. Historical and current views of most civilized societies toward homosexuality and their potential impact on those who publicly identify as homosexuals.

AND THE POINT, IN A HEALTH CURRICULUM WITH LIMITED TIME AVAILABILITY WOULD BE.....? SUCH A DISCUSSION WOULD BE INTERESTING, BUT WOULD CROWD OUT EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE CURRICULUM. SURE, WE COULD TALK ABOUT THE TERRIBLE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST GAYS AND LESBIANS WORLD OVER -- BUT I THINK EVERYONE PRETTY MUCH KNOWS THAT ALREADY.

5. That indulgence of homosexual impulses makes them more difficult to overcome.

THERE IS NOTHING IN THE MAINSTREAM MEDICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH LITERATURE TO SUPPORT THAT ASSERTION.

6. That most societies consider heterosexual families with biological children to be an ideal.

AND THE POINT, IN A HEALTH CURRICULUM, WOULD BE.......? IN ANY EVENT, STUDIES BY MAINSTREAM MEDICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH GROUPS HAVE SHOWN THAT CHILDREN RAISED IN FAMILIES HEADED BY SAME-SEX COUPLES DO AS WELL AS OTHER CHILDREN.

7. That the inability to function heterosexually could be be consider a disfunction under most definitions.

WHOSE DEFINITIONS? WE SHOULD FOLLOW THE MAINSTREAM MEDICAL AND SCIENTIFIC UNDERSTANDING OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION. IT WOULD BE FOOLISH AND CRUEL TO TELL GAY AND LESBIAN PEOPLE THAT THEY ARE DYSFUNCTIONAL WHEN THEY ARE NOT.

August 22, 2006 6:30 PM  
Blogger grantdale said...

Just got back to this, and how funny the Anon people can be. It's always a big hoot to have people tell us what this "being gay" stuff is all about. Because we wouldn't know otherwise, would we ;)

no evidence that this attraction is any more immutable or irresistable than any other behavior

Excuse me? "Attraction" is not a "behaviour". You do understand the difference?

And I presume you mean "no evidence" apart from the fact there's not a single exgay around who can honestly say they no longer are attracted. They are. They all are. Still. Everyone we've ever encountered. Regardless of how they are behaving today, those attractions don't vanish.

And for other (or same) anon -- what evidence do you have that nobody is "born gay"? Evidence, please.

My own position on civil liberties is that the question is irrelevant. People aren't born Christian. Some are born black. Gay, who knows? Straight or bi, ditto. The evidence points to a biological basis, but that's all it does at the moment -- points.

But none of this makes a jot of difference about whether ALL people should be able to decide how they want to live their own adult life, and to be able to do that without living in fear and surrounded by prejudice.

Sex ed that guides ALL children into their adult sexual lives can be taught without needing any answer to "why" some people are gay.

They just are. Hardly any of your business, unless you are too.

August 23, 2006 6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes please site all studies from now on it is not that hard.

August 23, 2006 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE MAINSTREAM MEDICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH COMMUNITY HAS REJECTED SUCH CONVERSION THERAPIES AS DANGEROUS. THEREFORE, IT WOULD BE IRRESPONSIBLE TO INCLUDE SUCH “POSSIBILITIES” IN THE HEALTH CURRICULUM.
based on what studies?

August 23, 2006 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE SCIENCE IS INCREASINGLY POINTING TOWARD GENETIC AND HORMONAL CAUSES.
studies please.

August 23, 2006 3:44 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, I know you think it's real clever asking for studies every time somebody says something. This blog has had hundreds of studies cited, by both sides, with links to the ones on the Internet. If you just joined the conversation, then please take some time to read back through the archives. If you have been with us for a while, then please see if you can resist the urge to cause me to delete your uninteresting and disingenuous requests for research that we know you won't read and couldn't understand if you did.

JimK

August 23, 2006 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just asking to have them pointed out this is a huge blog.

August 23, 2006 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whats eating you jim got an ich you cant scratch?

August 23, 2006 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MAINSTREAM MEDICAL AND SCIENTIFIC UNDERSTANDING OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION????
what ever.

August 23, 2006 4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This blog has had hundreds of studies cited, by both sides, with links to the ones on the Internet."

Problem is, none of them support the assertions David is making above.

There are biological reactions to homosexual stimulus aming gays but there is no reason to believe that the reaction isn't simply a reaction to achieving a goal already chosen by the will. The studies cited by TTF note this if the conclusions are actually read.

August 23, 2006 5:45 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, it's your turn -- I dare you to show us one study that says anything remotely similar to that.

None do.

David's assertions are well supported.

JimK

August 23, 2006 5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JimK said...
Anon, it's your turn -- I dare you to show us one study that says anything remotely similar to that.

None do.

David's assertions are well supported.

JimK

Ok jimK what ever. if you say so.

August 23, 2006 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon, it's your turn -- I dare you to show us one study that says anything remotely similar to that."

Similar to what? A study that says there are no studies? Point is, TTF promotes teaching ideas that are baseless. If there's a basis, the burden is on you to demonstrate it. You're the one advocating change.

August 24, 2006 10:45 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon said there is no reason to believe that the reaction isn't simply a reaction to achieving a goal already chosen by the will. The studies cited by TTF note this if the conclusions are actually read.

Anon, I'm just calling your BS. No study says anything about "achieving a goal already chosen by the will." No "studies cited by TTF" note this.

JimK

August 24, 2006 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read the conclusion of the pheronome study cited by the AMA representative at your conference last year. It mentions this as one of the possible explanations for the biological reaction they observed. They went on to say their is no way to "discriminate" between the possible explanations. If it's BS, it's not mine. It wouldn't have cleared peer review without this truth.

August 24, 2006 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spelling alert:

there is spelled t-h-e-r-e

August 24, 2006 11:10 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Are you still repeating your unscientific babble, Anon?

Anon looked at one paragraph from
Savic's first pheromone study, this one:

"The difference between HoM (homosexual males) and HeM (heterosexual males) could reflect a variant differentiation of the anterior hypothalamus in HoM, leading to an altered response pattern. Alternatively, it could reflect an acquired sensitization to AND (testosterone – male pheromone) stimuli in the hypothalamus or its centrifugal networks, due to repeated sexual exposure to men (35). A third possibility is that HeW (heterosexual women) and HoM associated AND with sex, whereas HeM made a similar association with EST (estrogen – female pheromone). These tentative mechanisms are not mutually exclusive, nor can they be discriminated on the basis of the present PET data."

and decided that only this single sentence in the entire study mattered:

"Alternatively, it could reflect an acquired sensitization to AND (testosterone – male pheromone) stimuli in the hypothalamus or its centrifugal networks, due to repeated sexual exposure to men."

Anon insists that this single sentence negates the two other possibilities stated in the same paragraph and ignores other studies, such as this one mentioned in this FOX NEWS story about the Savic pheromone study:

"In a separate study looking at people's response to the body odors of others, researchers in Philadelphia found sharp differences between gay and straight men and women.

"Our findings support the contention that gender preference has a biological component that is reflected in both the production of different body odors and in the perception of and response to body odors," said neuroscientist Charles Wysocki, who led the study.

In particular, he said, finding differences in body odors between gay and straight individuals indicates a physical difference.

It's hard to see how a simple choice to be gay or lesbian would influence the production of body odor, he said."


Anon's lack of scientific understanding is continues to be as obvious as his desire to change reality to fit his own biased perceptions.

Christine

August 24, 2006 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and decided that only this single sentence in the entire study mattered"

I did not say it was the only sentence that mattered. I said it was one possibility mentioned. The most important sentence is the one that says the study could not discriminate between the possibilities. In other words, the observed reactions are just as likely to be acquired by a chosen behavior as to be the cause of the choice.

The fact that they implied something else in interviews with the media probably is the result of peer pressure and the fact that interviews are not peer reviewed.

August 24, 2006 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon's lack of scientific understanding is continues to be as obvious as his desire to change reality to fit his own biased perceptions."

Unbelievable statement as it's clear from the discussion above that this is what TTF has done here.

August 24, 2006 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Christine said...

"The most important sentence is the one that says the study could not discriminate between the possibilities."

I agree that is an important sentence (not necessarily the "most important") because only more research will tell us which possibility is correct. So why did you once again completely disregard the other study mentioned in the FOX NEWS article?

The FOX cited study found that different body odors are produced by individuals of different sexual orientations. This means that there are physical differences between people with different sexual orientation and this finding supports the fact that genetics influence sexual orientation.

It's very clear what you have done here. You ignored information that doesn't fit your preconceived notions.

August 24, 2006 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Christine. I didn't catch on that the FOX article was talking about a different study. I've only read the one mentioned by your AMA representative.

My first question would be this:

The original pheronome study said that gays were attracted to body odor of the same gender. Now this study says gays give off a different body odor than others of their gender. Does this mean that gays are not attracted to one another? If so, it's evidence of irrationality and would make gaeity a destabilizing phenomoena in society.

If you know where I can see an actual copy of the study rather than a media report, let me know.

August 24, 2006 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just looked at the FOX article and it seems to be the same study I originally quoted so the words of the authors from the study still apply. There is no evidence, according to the authors, that can distinguish if the biological reactions noted are cause or effect. You're confusing fact and opinion, Christine.

August 24, 2006 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Christine said...

Since it's confusing to you, let me give you some simple directions.

1. Go to this website
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,155990,00.html
or click on the FOX NEWS story link above.

2. Read the entire article, including the part below the advertisements.

3. Find the following narrative about a study conducted in Philadelpia at the Monell Chemical Senses Center by Charles Wysocki already cited above:

"In a separate study looking at people's response to the body odors of others, researchers in Philadelphia found sharp differences between gay and straight men and women.

"Our findings support the contention that gender preference has a biological component that is reflected in both the production of different body odors and in the perception of and response to body odors," said neuroscientist Charles Wysocki, who led the study.

In particular, he said, finding differences in body odors between gay and straight individuals indicates a physical difference.

It's hard to see how a simple choice to be gay or lesbian would influence the production of body odor, he said."

August 24, 2006 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, Christine, Jim said this:

"Anon, I'm just calling your BS. No study says anything about "achieving a goal already chosen by the will." No "studies cited by TTF" note this."

I said this:

"Read the conclusion of the pheronome study cited by the AMA representative at your conference last year. It mentions this as one of the possible explanations for the biological reaction they observed. They went on to say their is no way to "discriminate" between the possible explanations. If it's BS, it's not mine. It wouldn't have cleared peer review without this truth."

You said:

"Are you still repeating your unscientific babble, Anon?"

the pheronome study cited by the AMA rep said this about the observed biological reactions:

"it could reflect an acquired sensitization to AND (testosterone – male pheromone) stimuli in the hypothalamus or its centrifugal networks, due to repeated sexual exposure to men."

So, basically, Jim was wrong when he said no study cited by TTF held that it's just as likely that observed biological reactions are the result of chosen behaviors as the cause of chosen behaviors.

As for your other cited study, I haven't read it. I glanced at the FOX article on it that you cited. It's obvious, however, that you can get into alot of trouble relying on media reports of scientific studies. You need to go to the source. Assuming that FOX was correctly quoting the scientist, I find this remark by him:

"It's hard to see how a simple choice to be gay or lesbian would influence the production of body odor"

to be pretty fallacious. I personally can think of ways that might be possible and find it hard to imagine that a reputable scientist would dismiss them without basis.

August 25, 2006 10:57 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon said: Jim was wrong when he said no study cited by TTF held that it's just as likely that observed biological reactions are the result of chosen behaviors as the cause of chosen behaviors.

Anon, I know you've backed yourself into a corner here. Generally I trust that people can read the whole thread, but since you've misrepresented my words (e.g., lied about what I said), let me repeat myself. I said, No study says anything about "achieving a goal already chosen by the will."

For one thing, "the will" is not a scientific contruct. You might be interested to read my review in Science of Dan Wegner's The Illusion of Conscious Will -- I'm pretty sure you won't be reading the book itself. Let's just say, psychologists do not treat "will" as a factor in any cognitive model I can think of. There may be an "executive control" subsystem, but the implications are quite different there.

Synaptic plasticity is the neural quality that makes learning possible. Nobody is surprised by that, it's not an insight; neurological functions are both causes and effects. There are research techniques for deductively identifying the sequence of causality in some but not all cases, and in those other cases induction is necessary. While all researchers understand the problems with inductive logic, it is necessary to fall back on that in the process of expanding knowledge. Your criticism of the resarch clearly shows that you have no appreciation for the foundations that it is built upon. Your lying about what I said demonstrates a certain level of desperation, which I sympathize with but I will not cooperate with you in misrepresentating my statements.

JimK

August 25, 2006 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm afraid you're the one who's back himself into a corner, Jim. You're right about one thing though. "Will" is not a scientific concept. Neither is "choice" because the two terms are synonymous. At least they are according to Webster, if not psychobabble central. That's why my paraphrase of your statement was not a "lie" but accurate. It's also why it's inappropriate to mislead students into thinking that science has concluded that homosexuality is not a choice.

Let's, however, ruminate in your alternative universe for a moment and grant that "will" and "choice" don't mean the same thing. Do you agree that the Savic study, cited by your invited expert from the AMA, says that there is an equal chance that the biological reactions they observed are acquired as a result of a choice rather than the cause of a desire? Why then would it be proper to teach students otherwise? The fiction that science has determined that sexual preference is beyond choice is widely conveyed in the media and popular press and if any myth needs debunking, it's that. The truth is the science is out. Let's teach the truth.

August 25, 2006 1:09 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, choice is observable, will is an inferred construct.

As for your argument, I don't know of anyone except you who says that sexual preference is a choice.

I am personally coming to the conclusion that those who argue the most adamantly against homosexuality are often, as you are implying, people who have chosen to live as if their sexual preference were heterosexual, when it isn't. It wasn't a choice for me, and it wasn't for any gay person you ask. The fact that it isn't a choice is really the underlying reason that these Exodus guys want to stop using the term "ex-gay" -- because you can't "choose" it away.

JimK

August 25, 2006 1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As for your argument, I don't know of anyone except you who says that sexual preference is a choice."

The only argument I made is that this is not scientifically determined. I'd also argue that it probably never will be but who knows. I met a couple of self-described "ex-gays" last Spring who are very involved with the local Exodus chapter and were giving a presentation and they said specifically that they believe the "science is out" on this.

Here's the Webster definition of "will":

"1 : DESIRE, WISH: as a : DISPOSITION, INCLINATION b : APPETITE, PASSION c : CHOICE, DETERMINATION"

August 25, 2006 1:46 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

The science is not "out." It's such a dumb question, nobody has bothered to ask it in a research arena. Their statement was simply wishful thinking on their part. They hope you choose your sexual orientation, because they really want to change. But it doesn't work that way.

The best analogy is handedness. Is it genetic? No, apparently not entirely. Can you resist it? - Yes, a person can learn to use the other hand, but it will never be "right." Does it hurt anything to be left-handed? -No. Do we know why some people are left-handed? -No. Do you choose your handedness. Of course not.

JimK

August 25, 2006 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best analogy is handedness. Is it genetic? No, apparently not entirely. Can you resist it? - Yes, a person can learn to use the other hand, but it will never be "right."

Jim you have no Idea what you are talking about. there is a well establised genitic link to left handedness.

August 25, 2006 2:51 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

The Wikipedia can be wrong, I know. It says HERE: ... even though left-handedness seems to be prevalent in some families, except for a small fraction of lefthanders, left-handedness is not "genetic."

Why don't you go click on that link and correct the text, do us all a favor...

JimK

August 25, 2006 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The science is not "out." It's such a dumb question, nobody has bothered to ask it in a research arena."

Dumb as it, it seems there are incessant inconclusive studies being done on this. Your Dr W from the AMA wasn't shy about looking at the research. But I agree. Science won't be able to answer this question so it continues to be an opinion rather than a fact.

"The best analogy is handedness."

The handedness analogy doesn't fit. Handedness is internally directed, concerning the selection between two body parts identical in function. Sexual preference, on the other hand, is externally directed, involving another person as an object.

August 25, 2006 5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's what the revised and rescinded MCPS curriculum said about this subject.

"Myth: If you are ”straight”, you can become homosexual.
Fact: Most experts in the field have concluded that sexual orientation is not a choice."

I don't see anything in there about "science" concluding anything at all.

Let's see, you've got about 1,000 or so members of NARTH who think sexual orientation is a choice. Then you've got about 130,000 members of the American Medical Association, 150,000 members of the American Psychological Association, and 35,000 members of the American Psychiatric Association who have concluded that sexual orientation is not a choice. Then there are other groups, such as the American Association of Pediatricians, who's membership numbers I haven't found.

So that's 315,000+ to 1,000. I'd say the FACT as presented in the MCPS curriculum is true.

August 25, 2006 6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Then you've got about 130,000 members of the American Medical Association, 150,000 members of the American Psychological Association, and 35,000 members of the American Psychiatric Association who have concluded that sexual orientation is not a choice. Then there are other groups, such as the American Association of Pediatricians, who's membership numbers I haven't found.

So that's 315,000+ to 1,000. I'd say the FACT as presented in the MCPS curriculum is true."

Can you show me where these groups concluded this? And if their conclusion is not based on science, then it's no more valid than anyone else's. Perhaps you should take a national tally. Or a worlwide one. If "experts" don't mean scientists, perhaps we should tally as "experts" anyone who provides counseling- pastors, priests, rabbis.

Finally, the pronouncements of associations don't always reflect the fews of their members on every issue unless the issue was part of the mission of the organization. In this particular area, there is docemented evidence that one of the associations you mentioned have, in the past, taken postions that the majority of their members don't agree with.

The statement:

"Most experts in the field have concluded that sexual orientation is not a choice"

is not a fact. It doesn't define "expert" or "field" and it assumes there is a phenomena of "orientation" as opposed to "preference", which is actually not a "fact" either. And even if your definition of "expert" is correct there is no documentation of what most of those "experts" think.

August 26, 2006 7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ttf thinks that facts are based on popular opinion? when did sciance become a democracy?

August 26, 2006 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

do all 315,000 of the AMA realy belive this? can you back this statment up with anything? NO like always you got nothing.

August 26, 2006 5:41 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

ttf thinks that facts are based on popular opinion? when did sciance become a democracy?

Scientific knowledge is the belief system shared by qualified experts in a field. It has nothing to do with "popular opinion" (and I have no idea where you got that from!), beyond the fact that scientists are members of a society and share the cultural norms of that society.

But the strange thing about knowledge is that it can only exist where there is a knower. Knowledge is not data, it is not information, it is not pure logic, it is the state of a mind embedded in a social network of highly trained, skeptical experts, a paradigm, who agree on some facts. The facts may be disproven later, that only validates science, it does not repudiate it.

JimK

August 26, 2006 6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Scientific knowledge is the belief system shared by qualified experts in a field."

There's no evidence that the "qualified experts" in this field "share" a "belief system". There's reason to believe there is some disagreement. Most do agree, however, that the science is out.

August 26, 2006 9:53 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anonymous, let me get this right. Are you saying that science has not yet determined whether sexual orientation is a choice?

Please point me to any time that a serious researcher has proposed this as a hypothesis -- anywhere, any time, ever.

JimK

August 26, 2006 10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, let me get this right. Are you saying that science has not yet determined whether sexual orientation is a choice?"

That's right.

"Please point me to any time that a serious researcher has proposed this as a hypothesis -- anywhere, any time, ever."

I don't think the fact that science has not determined something would be properly called a hyptothesis. It's a fact.

August 27, 2006 3:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sexual orientation definition
if you are a boy you are a boy if you are a girl you are a girl.
if you have a birthdefict that makes it not posible to tell than that is abnormal but how often does that hapen 1 in 30,000. live births.

August 27, 2006 10:45 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

It's a fact.

You've put yourself in an interesting position, Anon. Even advocates of reparative therapy stop short of saying that sexual orientation is a choice. The most they hope for is that a person can learn to have the fortitude to not act on their impuses.

Only you seem to believe that people just choose who will be attractive to them. Those of us who follow our nature understand that this view is impossible.

JimK

August 27, 2006 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No I think that when natural selection goes wrong like in the case of homosexuals it is a combination of environmental factors that can start in the early years of life. A big one is being the victim of sexual abuse and often verbal and physical week fathers overbearing mothers

August 27, 2006 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 27, 2006 11:09 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, you're an idiot. Please don't go there again.

JimK

August 27, 2006 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought that was a fair question I realy don't know if the law applies.

August 27, 2006 11:51 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

As you know, there was no question, just crudeness. Don't pull that again if you want to comment here.

JimK

August 27, 2006 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

April 28, 1992
THE DOCTOR'S WORLD; With Candidates' Medical History, Openness May Be Good Politics
By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN, M.D.
In the wake of new revelations about Paul E. Tsongas's recurrence of cancer after an experimental bone marrow transplant, the former Senator from Massachusetts made a pledge last week. Even if there is no need for Mr. Tsongas to execute the pledge, it could profoundly affect how other candidates release information about their health.

If he runs for President or Vice-President in the future, Mr. Tsongas wrote in a letter to his doctor, he will open his records at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston to independent experts for evaluation. If there are any remaining questions, Mr. Tsongas wrote, he will be willing to get tested at another cancer center not affiliated with Dana-Farber, the Harvard teaching hospital where he underwent the experimental transplant.

Mr. Tsongas, who suspended his own campaign for the Democratic nomination last month, said in an interview that in making the pledge he was walking a thin line: Although he is assuring full disclosure in his own case, he is not setting a precedent that would force other candidates to take the same action.

But after this episode, it is likely that the news media will more closely scrutinize the health problems of candidates for national office. And with Mr. Tsongas's example before them, future candidates may feel more compelled to make full disclosure of their medical records.

A similar example comes from an era when doctors could do far less to assess a patient's health than they can today.

In 1931, Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York asked the New York Academy of Medicine for an examination from a panel of impartial doctors. Roosevelt, who had been left paralyzed by polio, made the request in an effort to dispel rumors he was sick and that his polio had affected his brain and might drive him mad.

In a public report of the examination and tests, including one for syphilis, three doctors said Governor Roosevelt's powers were "such as to allow him to meet all the demands of private or public life."

By the time President Roosevelt ran for his fourth term in 1944, however, there was no independent medical team checking his condition. White House doctors kept Roosevelt's severe heart problems and high blood pressure secret. He died only three months after his inauguration.

If modern preventions and therapies had been available, Roosevelt would almost certainly have survived to carry out his White House duties. Medicine's progress makes it likely that newer therapies will allow many more candidates with health problems to run for national office. But these developments also make it more difficult for doctors -- and voters -- to determine who is healthy enough to serve out a term as President.

For example, Mr. Tsongas's lymphoma was a slow-moving cancer of the immune system. So even if it recurred while he was President, recent advances in cancer might allow Mr. Tsongas, who is 51, to carry out his full duties without restricting his work or invoking the 25th Amendment, which deals with Presidential disability.

Indeed, a recurrence of lymphoma could be a far less pressing medical problem than a shooting, a heart attack or any number of other problems of advancing age.

From the start, Mr. Tsongas knew he had to convince the public that he had fully recovered from cancer.

Mr. Tsongas and his doctors could have summarized the 15 or so volumes of his medical records and issued a document to serve as a standard reference. But Tak Takvorian, Mr. Tsongas's personal doctor, said a one-and-a-half-page summary of Mr. Tsongas's complicated case that he prepared for the campaign was not released. Mr. Tsongas said he did not know why the summary had not been made public.

And although Mr. Tsongas had asked for full disclosure from his doctors, Dana-Farber officials obstructed inquiries, allowing only Dr. Takvorian and Dr. George P. Canellos, Dana-Farber's chief oncologist, to discuss the candidate's health.

Although they told reporters of the bone marrow transplant and aggressive chemotherapy and radiation used in hopes of eradicating his lymphoma, the doctors did not disclose that he had a localized recurrence of lymphoma in a lymph node in his armpit. It was detected when the node was removed in a biopsy in July 1987, more than 10 months after his bone marrow transplant in 1986 and four years after the cancer was first detected.

Dr. Takvorian and Dr. Canellos used euphemisms such as "suspicious cells" to describe the pathology findings of the biopsy, and they described the extra radiation that Mr. Tsongas received as a precaution.

Mr. Tsongas's doctors give him a very favorable prognosis, one that has been echoed by other cancer experts not connected with his case. But knowledge of the relapse could have dampened the widespread optimism about Mr. Tsongas's prognosis.

If the disclosure had been made before the New Hampshire primary in February, it might have hurt his performance in that primary.

It was only after repeated requests that Dana-Farber officials told The New York Times on Wednesday night of the specific diagnosis of the lymph node biopsy.

The diagnosis was unequivocally cancer. A pathology report described "non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, nodular and diffuse, poorly differentiated lymphocytic type, or small cleaved follicular center cell type."

Dana-Farber issued a news release last week saying that the facts about Mr. Tsongas's case were "previously on the record." But previous reports did not say the node was a lymphoma, only that there were suspicious or potentially cancerous cells.

Dr. Takvorian said his team told Mr. Tsongas that it was cancer. But the numerous accounts of Mr. Tsongas's case make it unclear what the doctors actually told him and what he heard them say. In interviews, Mr. Tsongas said the additional radiation treatment was a preventive measure and that he did not remember being told the node was cancerous.

Both Dr. Takvorian and his patient could be correct. That is because giving and getting bad news, like a diagnosis of recurrent lymphoma, is difficult for doctors and patients alike.

Doctors may deceive themselves into believing they fully informed patients about a bad diagnosis when in fact they used euphemisms or medical jargon to describe it. Dr. Canellos said that might have occurred in Mr. Tsongas's case.

And it is well known that when patients get bad news from their doctors, they listen for and remember anything that offers hope and let the bad news escape.

All patients, even public figures like political candidates, are entitled to privacy. But it has become standard practice for political leaders to waive the confidentiality of the patient-doctor relationship and to disclose their health records fully.

And many patients who have undergone experimental therapies, like the bone marrow transplant Mr. Tsongas underwent, have waived their right to confidentiality, agreeing to discuss their cases in interviews for news stories and other forms of publicity.

After patients survive the ordeal of cancer treatment and are ready to get on with their life, many, like Mr. Tsongas, ask their doctors to provide prospective employers with the medical facts to counter potential job discrimination against cancer patients.

As one of the first to undergo the experimental therapy, Mr. Tsongas took part in a research study aimed at evaluating its effectiveness. But, ignoring Mr. Tsongas's pleas for cooperation, Dana-Farber doctors refused to answer questions on the contradictory ground that the information might jeopardize his confidentiality and that of other participants.

Such confidentiality is designed to protect patients, not doctors. On broader terms, the Tsongas story raises questions about the credibility of doctors in dealing with cancer patients. Instead of helping Mr. Tsongas battle job discrimination as a cancer survivor, the Dana-Farber officials have added to it. Mr. Tsongas might have been better off if had he been able to follow the example of Roosevelt.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company Home Privacy Policy Search Corrections XML Help Contact Us Work for Us Back to Top

August 27, 2006 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the question was will dana as a canidate make medical records public?

August 27, 2006 11:58 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

No, that was not mentioned in the comment I deleted. That was on the "candidate forum" thread and still stands.

JimK

August 27, 2006 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

which comment was it?

August 27, 2006 1:26 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

It was one addressed to grantdale.

JimK

August 27, 2006 2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

grantdale well what can I say walks like a duck it's a duck.

August 27, 2006 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Sandy said...

And Anon here cowers in the shadows of anonymity just like the KKK does under their sheets.

Sandy

August 28, 2006 7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sandy said...
And Anon here cowers in the shadows of anonymity just like the KKK does under their sheets.
Yes I am in this for the attention though you got to love the brown shirt tactics. You seem to pull them right out of the SA playbook
KKK no I am no democrat. Speaking of which how is Robert Byrd doing? Think he is going to get the nomination of the democrats? Of course he is why would you kick him out of the party he is your moral compass.

August 28, 2006 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"KKK no I am no democrat. Speaking of which how is Robert Byrd doing? "

I don't know, but I can ask Bush the drunk if you want me to.

August 29, 2006 3:32 PM  

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