Friday, February 16, 2007

Spitzer's (Weak) Explanation

We have been talking here about the strange situation where researcher Robert Spitzer has a video on the PFOX web site in which he advocates their position and says that gay advocates are not being truthful about the immutability of sexual orientation. The Flash video comes up whenever you load their home page.

Spitzer's research has been used by rightwing groups to promote the idea that gay people can and should become straight, and he has said he does not approve of that use of his findings. So a few of us were surprised that he turned up as the spokesman for PFOX.

Truth Wins Out released a video yesterday where Spitzer seems to explain the situation and expresses his opinion about it. At least, because of the timing of the release of this video, we assume that the interview he refers to is the one that ended up on PFOX's site. Nothing in the TWO story says that it's the same one.

In the video, Spitzer says he was interviewed by James Dobson and gave permission for Dobson to use it however he wanted, and now he's "uncomfortable" it's being used to promote Focus on the Family's anti-gay viewpoints.

Here's what he says on the video:
Spitzer: When I did the study, that was several years ago, six years ago. At that time there was not as much controversy about gay marriage and whatnot as there is now. I think I would be more reluctant now to start such a study, knowing the way in which it would be used. Since I'm totally uncomfortable with the aims of Focus on the Family.

It's understandable that Focus on the Family would be delighted with the results of my study because the study did indicate that there was evidence that some gays can change not only their sexual identity but their sexual orientation, fantasy, arousal. So of course they were delighted with that study. What they failed to mention, and it's not I guess a big surprise, is that in the discussion I noted that it was so hard for me to find two hundred subjects to participate in the study that I have to conclude that although change is possible and does occur, it's probably quite rare. And of course they don't want to mention that.

Narrator: We asked Dr. Spitzer how he feels about how Focus on the Family used his work to support a program that essentially seeks to deny civil rights to gays.

Spitzer: It makes me feel quite uncomfortable, and I'm kind of caught in that I think the study needed to be done, but I'm not happy that the people who are making use of the study are people whose program I'm totally am at odds with and feel therefore uncomfortable with their use of the study.

Dobson interviewed me at one point and he used that interview as part of their distribution process, and what I've found out about that I was quite unhappy with it because I didn't realize that I'd given permission for it to be distributed in that way. I wasn't happy with his reporting it because he failed to mention the point that I mentioned, which is that I thought change was rare. But there was nothing I could do, I had signed a permission and so they were free to distribute it.

As far as the gay person who is thinking about change, the gay person wants to know not only can some people change but how likely is it if I go into some kind of therapy or program. So my study I think does indicate that some gays can change but it also suggests that it's probably pretty rare. So the gay who is thinking about entering some kind of program to change should know that the likelihood of success is probably quite small. And of course Focus on the Family doesn't want to say that.

OK, so let me get this straight. This guy goes and does an interview with James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, a notorious anti-gay religious right organization. He tells Dobson, on camera, that:
... the gay activists have taken the viewpoint that from a political/strategic point of view they do better if they can convince society at large that once you're homosexual you can never change. Now, I can appreciate that that helps them politically, and I'm sympathetic towards their political goals, but I think it's just not true.

Then he signs a permission form that lets Dobson do whatever he wants with the video recording. And now he's on PFOX's web site, helping sell the message that gay people can and should become straight.

Look, it's pretty clear to me that no amount of editing could put those words into Spitzer's mouth, saying that the gay activists are making claims that are "just not true" in their attempt to "convince society at large that once you're a homosexual you can never change." He said that, on-camera, to James Dobson, and gave him permission to use it however he wanted.

I don't see him doing anything to stop being the PFOX spokesperson, other than complaining on Wayne Besen's video about how it doesn't make him comfortable or happy.

Maybe I'm too cynical here. Maybe he really is "uncomfortable," as he says, and unhappy, but just not unhappy enough to do anything to stop being the PFOX spokesresearcher. What am I missing?

[Update: Warren Throckmorton has commented here that he doesn't think this video is referring to the PFOX promotion. Maybe the TWO video is not an explanation of that, but a more general comment by Spitzer about his view of Focus on the Family. In that case, we are still left wondering why he is speaking for PFOX.]

52 Comments:

Anonymous Warren Throckmorton said...

Jim - I think you are assuming that the PFOX video is the one he is talking about in the Besen video. I do not think they are the same. Bob gave an interview to Dobson on the radio when the study first came out and I think that is what he is referring to. I am pretty sure the video on the PFOX website is from a previously recorded film and not one he did for FOTF but I cannot figure out which one as yet.

February 16, 2007 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim

There is nothing contradictory here. He believes in your cause but doesn't think there is scientific evidence to support and doesn't want his study used for political purposes for either side.

I don't see that he's become a spokesman for PFOX just because he has allowed them to quote him. Not sure they need that permission anyway.

February 16, 2007 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr Throckmorton

Maybe you could contact Spitzer.

February 16, 2007 11:52 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Thanks for the information, Warren, I'm sure you know more about this than I do -- especially since at first everybody was saying the PFOX video was yours!

Let us know if there's any news on this. I am quite surprised that he would speak for PFOX, of all the organizations out there.

JimK

February 16, 2007 11:53 AM  
Blogger andrear said...

I guess Dr. Spitzer could make a very clear public statement that he does no support PFOX in any way and is sorry that his video is being used in this way. The fact that someone has a release for an interview one did- does not mean that you cannot say you do like the way it is being used. Further. Dr. Spitzer could come out much more strongly about the video use. On the other hand, we know how quickly these groups sue- and the large amounts of right wing money behind them to do that. I am sure Dr. Spitzer does not want to become the latest victim of the Liberty Counsel and their ilk.

February 16, 2007 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But why would he do that, Andrea? He's made it clear that he agrees that ex-gays exist. Your big complaint about PFOX is that they promote the "myth" that Spitzer's study says is not a myth.

February 16, 2007 1:52 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous the Spitzer study shows that "reparitive therapy" is overwhelmingly a failure for the vast majority of people who attempt it. PFOX encourages people to believe that it works for any motivated person who tries it - this is a lie.

February 16, 2007 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your thinking is completely fallacious, Randi. If he didn't examine or study cases, he can't conclude on them. He can only draw conclusions on what he's studied. What he did find was that those who claim to have gone through the experience don't care to be psychoanalyzed by hostile researchers.

Who would?

February 16, 2007 4:05 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

Anonymous,

all he did was call people on the phone and ask a series of questions. Please explain to everyone how that is correct analyzation of anything.

Furthermore, he later said that he believes that he was being lied to by these individuals. The source for this is a 2006 issue of the Los Angeles Times

February 16, 2007 4:12 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

A couple of points:

1) Spitzer has said, quite clearly, and been supported by Jack Drescher, that it is POSSIBLE that 1-2% of gay men can change. I don't have a problem with that. Anything is possible.

But as with most things in science and medicine, the exception simply proves the rule. People OVERWHELMINGLY cannot change their innate sexual orientation.

An example: cataract surgery is 98% successful at improving vision. 2% have complications and suffer visual loss. Conclusion: cataract surgery is one of the most successful procedures in the surgical armementarium. The 2% complication rate simply highlights the 98% success rate. If some Dobsonite like Anon chooses not to have cataract surgery because of the 2% complication rate, that is his problem and his loss. But he has no business going into schools and teaching that cataract surgerty is a failure.

Note: Sexual reassignment surgery also has a 98% success rate.

2) There is a very simple way to resolve this problem: Do the research. According to Retta and Regina and Michelle there are tens of thousands of happy, contented ex-gays. So let some reputable scientist do a statistically valid analysis of these people, who must be chomping at the bit to do their part for the FOTF agenda.

February 16, 2007 4:48 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous said " If he didn't examine or study cases, he can't conclude on them. He can only draw conclusions on what he's studied."

Spitzer"it was so hard for me to find 200 subjects to participate in the study, that I have to conclude that although change is possible and does occur, it's probably quite rare...".

He was well familiar with the situation in which he had great difficulty finding people merely claiming to have "changed", he was well able to CONCLUDE that its pretty rare.

February 16, 2007 5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And nowhere on the highly edited PFOX tape of Spitzer did they bother to include Spitzer's conclusion that change is rare.

Why does PFOX always leave that part out?

February 16, 2007 5:32 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

No, Anon, I dispute PFOX when Regina claims for PFOX she has met thousands of "ex-gays". Spitzer's work says something entirely different. I also know that phone polls/interviews are rarely a basis for scientific research- despite the way TV and newspapers like to tout the polls they do-and the public buys it as a basis for anything. And Anon- before you spout your usual factless nonsense- I have seen more research proposals than you have had hot dinners(or happy meals).

February 16, 2007 7:06 PM  
Anonymous warren throckmorton said...

Dana - Surely, you know that Bob Spitzer was estimating about percentages. This is not science to quote a man's estimate. Nothing is proven here. Of course, nothing proves that such change is common or frequent, either. The truth is no one knows for sure how prevalent any degree of change is for various groups of people. The series of studies that would be needed to really address this have not been done.

February 17, 2007 1:37 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Maybe the studies haven't been done because, as Dr. Spitzer found out, even when seeking research subjects from NARTH, Exodus and others who conduct various conversion therapies, it's very difficult to come up with a significant number of people who claim success at sexual reorientation. This fact led Dr. Spitzer to conclude sexual reorientation success is rare, which the PFOX-edited video conveniently omits.

PFOX's use of this edited Spitzer tape, which leaves out the important conclusion that reorientation success is rare, demonstrates PFOX's part in the cruel hoax of conversion therapy IMHO. They make this rarely successful therapy sound highly successful to lure unsuspecting parents to send their LGBT teens for treatment. This enables the therapists to make a pile of money while their clients agonize as they try their best to pray away the gay. And of course, the longer the kid is unsuccessful, the more money the therapist can make.

February 17, 2007 7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea and AB

He didn't conclude that it is rare, he concluded it is PROBABLY rare.

He didn't say whether he had any indication why it was hard to find people willing to participate in the study. Spitzer was revered in the gay community at the time for his role in getting homosexuality removed from the DSM. Could be that participanyts were hesitant to cooperate with what they thought would be a biased study.

February 17, 2007 10:27 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

You guys, stop. He didn't find anything in his research regarding the proportion of people who can change. He tested a binary question: can people change their sexual orientation -- Yes or No? His self-report dependent measure was very weak, and in fact what was measured (and Spitzer is well enough trained to know Martin Orne's work on demand characteristics) was the subjects' ability to convince Spitzer that they had changed.

It is a pure example of Popper's "all swans are white" argument, where really, he just had to find one person who had convincingly changed, to disprove the hypothesis that it never happens.

He says it was hard to find these people, and it is common knowledge that all cases of sexual-orientation-reversal are suspect, if only because of all the mixed motives. But this was not part of Spitzer's study, it's only his own personal experience, which is admittedly greater than any of ours in this topic.

JimK

February 17, 2007 10:56 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Warren, I agree. Jim has clarified this below.

I have had similar problems with research myself. I "know" that DES causes gender variance, because it has been my experience and that of several hundred other trans women whom I personally know. The numbers are way too high to be random, yet because the exposure happened in many cases 40-60 years ago, medical records are missing.

I presented my findings to an esteemed group of researchers two summers ago, was well received but ultimately dismissed because I didn't have "proof." Sometimes you just have to make do with what you've got. I'm hoping to find money and support to find molecular markers for DES exposure, because the DES experience is simply the tip of the iceberg of the effect of endocine disruptors on wildlife and humanity.

And I will admit that while I wouldn't like to discover that I'm wrong (who likes that?), I would respect the results of such research.

Similarly, until we can get this "conversion therapy" research done, we are left with the experiences of hundreds of thousands that they cannot change, and the stories of a few who claim to have changed (and some who have been shown to have "changed" back). PFOX and Co. claim hundreds of thousands of successes, but can never present anyone not on payroll who has successfully become heterosexual. Certainly if there were such successes they would be front and center, if not for the approbation of millions of evangelical conservatives than for the financial benefits of telling their stories and selling the movie rights (to Mel Gibson, I guess). But we don't see this happening, do we?

February 17, 2007 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"it is common knowledge that all cases of sexual-orientation-reversal are suspect, if only because of all the mixed motives"

Jim and Dr D

Those who claim they can't change are just as suspect. They have a "motive" to promote this notion.

February 18, 2007 5:03 AM  
Anonymous Straight ally said...

"They have a "motive" to promote this notion."

I don't suppose the motives of LGBTs would be to protect their financial profits for "ministries" or "coaching" (which was the motive of most participants in Spitzer's study) and it certainly wouldn't be because they seek to be discriminated against by various anti-gay laws.

The motive of LGBTs is to obtain the same civil rights that all Americans have; nothing more (like profits) and nothing less (like discrimination). This straight ally shares that same reason to be in this fight. I am an American who stands for freedom and equality. All of us, gay or straight deserve to be treated equally in the eyes of the law.

February 18, 2007 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're correct, straight ally. One of the motives for gays to say they can't change is that it is widely perceived as a way to receive the same special civil rights protection that racial minorities. They are trying to get a free ride on the civil rights train.

It's an abuse of science and is leading to a corruption of our entire scientific establishment.

February 18, 2007 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Straight Ally said...

What are these "special civil rights protection that racial minorities" you refer to?

February 18, 2007 10:00 AM  
Blogger digger said...

An anonymid said:

"Spitzer was revered in the gay community at the time for his role in getting homosexuality removed from the DSM."

Here's a publicly known fact that is rarely mentioned in descriptions of Dr. Spitzer:

His committee, when it removed the category of homosexuality from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illnesses of the American Psychiatric Association), they created the category of "ego-dystonic homosexuality."

What does "ego-dystonic" mean? It means you have a trait that you do not want to have. Thus the committee created a category for those seeking reorientation therapy: a diagnostic and therefor billable category. This category was removed in the DSM III and the DSM IV.

Spitzer has always believed that reorientation therapies are effective. He is not a "hero of the gay movement" who has changed his mind.

This description of Dr. Spitzer is annoying.

rrjr

February 18, 2007 5:40 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Robert, I admit, everything I know about sexual orientation or the history of the controversies surrounding it, I learned in the last two years in TTF. I seriously had never given this a thought, beyond the ordinary shallow consideration you give something when it flashes by on the news. So I don't know how people feel about Spitzer, or what happened in the past, or how it all played out.

I thank you for filling us in.

When I first saw the PFOX video, I thought it was a dirty trick they had played, putting up some video they had found somewhere. And when he spoke out against FotF, I really thought he was complaining about this use of his interview. But it does seem possible that he really is the new spokesperson for PFOX.

JimK

February 18, 2007 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Warren Throckmorton said...

Folks - Bob Spitzer is a man of integrity who says what he believes wherever he is and to whomever he addresses. He does not change his views based on his audience. If you take all of his taped interviews on this subject, they are quite consistent. Viewing him as some kind of stealth advocate for either side is just not accurate. He personally favors gay rights, did so before his study and still does. His belief that sexual orientation may be flexible for some people has not changed his political outlook.

I have a lengthy interview with him in which he describes his past views and current perspective (as of 2004). I have seen nothing in the recent statements that contradicts what he said then.

Regarding "ego-dystonic homosexuality" - it was more involved than providing a reparative therapy diagnosis. In fact, there are people that do not see attractions to the same sex as fitting other valued aspects of their ego (self-picture, identity). This is what the framers of the DSM were attempting to capture. One of the DSM's main criteria for mental illness is subjective distress. This category was an effort to standardize clinical assessment surrounding those who were in conflict.

February 19, 2007 8:52 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Warren, maybe you can propose an informed hypothesis about why he is now representing PFOX.

JimK

February 19, 2007 9:19 AM  
Anonymous warren throckmorton said...

Jim - I just spoke with Bob by phone. He has viewed the clip and says he does not remember what video this clip has been taken from. He did not make it specifically for PFOX and is not a spokesperson for PFOX (or any group for that matter). He cannot control what happens with footage that has been taken of him over the years and so he could not have it removed from the site. As far as the content goes, he believes some people change, but his study (as we have all agreed here) gives no basis for a firm position on how often that kind of change could take place. He did say PFOX should make it clear that he personally believes such change is infrequent.

February 19, 2007 9:36 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Thanks for looking into it, Warren, there's a lot of good information in your comment, and we'll watch your blog for further explanation.

PFOX stands for the idea that "change is possible." The one and only piece of research they have to back that up is Spitzer's, and everyone is familiar with the criticisms of Spitzer's paper, and with Spitzer's own comments regarding the improper use of his findings.

PFOX makes the mutability of sexual orientation a political issue; they claim there are tens of thousands of ex-gays out there, and accuse everyone -- including me -- of discriminating against them. Skepticism of their claims is certainly within the relam of reason, and obviously does not comprise discrimination, but that's the way they frame it.

Anybody who visits the PFOX web site -- which, as you know, they are promoting as hard as they can, for instance by giving flyers to schoolchildren in our county four times a year -- immediately sees a video of Dr. Robert Spitzer asserting that the gay advocates are saying something that is not true in order to promote a politically expedient opinion. (For those of us who use Firefox, that's pretty much all we see on that amateurish web site.)

And now, he's told you that he's seen it, doesn't know where it came from, and isn't doing anything about it.

Would you be so casual if someone was using your face, your words and gestures, to promote a point of view you disagreed with? Even if you couldn't legally stop them, wouldn't you make a public statement? A single, clear statement from Spitzer himself, saying that he doesn't approve of PFOX's viewpoint or methods, would be enough to pull the rug out, completely. I'm sure Wayne Besen, or you, would be happy to post the statement on the Internet, where it would be disseminated appropriately. But we're not seeing that.

It sounds to me like he's playing both sides of the game here.

JimK

February 19, 2007 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"PFOX stands for the idea that "change is possible." The one and only piece of research they have to back that up is Spitzer's,"

There is no research that contradicts Spitzer's research and, at least on this blog, gay advocates have tried to claim his research as proof that change is not possible.

"and everyone is familiar with the criticisms of Spitzer's paper, and with Spitzer's own comments regarding the improper use of his findings."

Yet, no one disputes that it was peer-reviewed and indicates, however frequent or infrequent change is, that homosexuality is not immutable. If mutable, there are, no doubt, factors which affect mutability and which could become the basis of an effective therapy.

All of which is to say, further research is needed to draw conclusions and gay advocates do so lightly.

"PFOX makes the mutability of sexual orientation a political issue;"

This a complete perversion of fact. PFOX's stance is a reaction to gay advocacy groups' attempts to use immutability as a political tool to advance their agenda. Dr. Spitzer said so himself in the video in question.

"they claim there are tens of thousands of ex-gays out there, and accuse everyone -- including me -- of discriminating against them. Skepticism of their claims is certainly within the relam of reason, and obviously does not comprise discrimination, but that's the way they frame it."

The discrimination lies in the extreme reaction to the idea that change is possible and the characterization of those who dare to suggest such a thing. It's very hyperbolic.

To suggest that a curriculum state that change is not possible is discriminatory to those gays, however few, for whom it is possible.

"Anybody who visits the PFOX web site -- which, as you know, they are promoting as hard as they can, for instance by giving flyers to schoolchildren in our county four times a year --"

Not promoted as hard as Gay-Straight Alliance clubs. PFOX is only allowed quarterly access as opposed to GSAs which can make daily announcements.

"immediately sees a video of Dr. Robert Spitzer asserting that the gay advocates are saying something that is not true in order to promote a politically expedient opinion."

If he's said that, it certainly is relevant to their mission.

"And now, he's told you that he's seen it, doesn't know where it came from, and isn't doing anything about it."

And doesn't refute any of it.

"Would you be so casual if someone was using your face, your words and gestures, to promote a point of view you disagreed with? Even if you couldn't legally stop them, wouldn't you make a public statement?"

Why should he? The only confused party appears to be TTF.

"A single, clear statement from Spitzer himself, saying that he doesn't approve of PFOX's viewpoint or methods, would be enough to pull the rug out, completely."

I don't see any indication that he disagrees with PFOX's viewpoint or method other than that it should make clear his personal, unsubstantiated, though somewhat informed, guess about frequency.

Again, it's possible factors that cause the rare occurrences of mutability could be isolated and used by therapists.

"It sounds to me like he's playing both sides of the game here."

His position is clear and he's stated it. The only game is the deal you're making of it.

February 19, 2007 10:59 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

There is NO evidence showing that change is possible. If there were, you would have presented it. As a scientific hypothesis, sure, put it out there. Study it in a little more detail than phone calls over a six month period to people on the payroll of Christian organizations.

The shame with Dr. Spitzer is that he published a paper which he admitted was flawed, presented no follow-up, and is now allowing his off-hand opinion that change may rarely be possible to be used as a political cudgel. If he doesn't support that, he should clearly say so.

If all the right has is Spitzer, that is pretty pathetic. I'm still waiting for those thousands of "reformed homosexuals" to march down Pennsylvania Ave. If their cause is so darn important to the future of western civilization, it's the least they can do.

The more interesting question underlying all this argument is not whether one can change one's sexual orientation -- one can't from gay to straight nor straight to gay; it's whether belief in Jesus can actually cause such profound changes as those of sexual identity and orientation. It often goes unsaid by these groups, who indirectly acknowledge that there is no medical therapy, that they are peddling a purely religious "cure."

We've seen a few studies to show that prayer has no impact on heart disease. We also know that personal beliefs can prominently impact BEHAVIOR. So why don't we engage in this debate on what we all acknowledge to be true -- these fundamental aspects of our being are innate, but we are capable of changing our behavior. Then the question is what behavior, how we should change it, and why. We can talk of human decency and civil rights instead of having to deal, over and over again, with this pseudoscientific nonsense from the right.

February 19, 2007 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is NO evidence showing that change is possible. If there were, you would have presented it."

Spitzer thought there was and presented it.

"As a scientific hypothesis, sure, put it out there. Study it in a little more detail than phone calls over a six month period to people on the payroll of Christian organizations."

Sure, go ahead. Still doesn't take away what's there.

"The shame with Dr. Spitzer is that he published a paper which he admitted was flawed, presented no follow-up, and is now allowing his off-hand opinion that change may rarely be possible to be used as a political cudgel. If he doesn't support that, he should clearly say so."

He has clearly said change is sometimes possible.

"If all the right has is Spitzer, that is pretty pathetic."

It's more than the left has.

"I'm still waiting for those thousands of "reformed homosexuals" to march down Pennsylvania Ave. If their cause is so darn important to the future of western civilization, it's the least they can do."

What cause would they march for?

"The more interesting question underlying all this argument is not whether one can change one's sexual orientation -- one can't from gay to straight nor straight to gay; it's whether belief in Jesus can actually cause such profound changes as those of sexual identity and orientation. It often goes unsaid by these groups, who indirectly acknowledge that there is no medical therapy, that they are peddling a purely religious "cure."

We've seen a few studies to show that prayer has no impact on heart disease."

The problem with all those types of studies is that prayer is not a magic incantation. Proper understanding of it scripturally is not that at all.

"We also know that personal beliefs can prominently impact BEHAVIOR. So why don't we engage in this debate on what we all acknowledge to be true -- these fundamental aspects of our being are innate, but we are capable of changing our behavior."

If you think that personal beliefs can't transform inner life, you are presenting your religious beliefs. This is not an area testable or subject to science.

"Then the question is what behavior, how we should change it, and why. We can talk of human decency and civil rights instead of having to deal, over and over again, with this pseudoscientific nonsense from the right."

Why are your unproven assertions in this area any less pseudoscientific than anyone else's? Your assertion that science has found one can't change is pseudoscientific nonsense.

February 19, 2007 4:09 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Keep repeating that, Anon. You have proven repeatedly that you have no clue as to what science is.

February 20, 2007 7:59 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

He has clearly said change is sometimes possible.

And what else did he say?

Spitzer said, "What they failed to mention, and it's not I guess a big surprise, is that in the discussion I noted that it was so hard for me to find two hundred subjects to participate in the study that I have to conclude that although change is possible and does occur, it's probably quite rare. And of course they don't want to mention that...I wasn't happy with his (Dobson's) reporting it because he failed to mention the point that I mentioned, which is that I thought change was rare."

Per Dr. Throckmorton who reported on a recent telephone call with Dr. Spitzer:

He did say PFOX should make it clear that he personally believes such change is infrequent.

February 20, 2007 11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone including the anons have agreed, AB. So why are you repeating the same thing, other than to have the last word?

Relevant points:

1. That change is possible is a conclusion from his study.

That it is rare is an educated guess based on his difficulty finding test subjects, the reason for which, he is uncertain.

2. Most gay advocacy organizations claim that change is not possible at all so the establishment of even rare instances eliminates their jaded use of this as a political tool.


3. Dr Spitzer is as esteemed as they come in this field.

4. TTFers are somewhat limited in their knowledge and understanding of this field.

February 20, 2007 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You have proven repeatedly that you have no clue as to what science is."

Amazing that Dana would say something like this considering the regularity with which she stumbles in her scientific logic. She was just corrected by Dr Throckmorton recently.

The things a pot will say to a kettle.

Amazing.

February 20, 2007 1:24 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Anon, when you get the chance, please point out to me where I was "corrected" by Warren. He added to my comments, posting his own interpretation of data which is terribly suspect in the first place.

If you knew anything about medicine, you would know that nothing is ever 100%. We are so complex, development is so diverse and involved, that you can never expect 100% of anything. Any doctor who promises a result is a fool.

February 20, 2007 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I was repeating to clarify the facts and I must admit, I am glad to see you have finally used the word "rare" when discussing Spitzer's findings.

With enough repetition, even you might get it right.

Amazing!

February 20, 2007 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AB

You are now lying. His study didn't have findings on the rate of success. It was not designed that way. It simply found that change does happen in some cases.

His comments on the "rarity" were hypothetical and not based on the data. He simply guessed why he had trouble finding cooperative subjects. He never said it was any more than a guess and used qualifying terms like "probably".

You know that. Don't you?

February 20, 2007 5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you knew anything about medicine, you would know that nothing is ever 100%. We are so complex, development is so diverse and involved, that you can never expect 100% of anything. Any doctor who promises a result is a fool."

Dana

You're the one who always speaks with such certainty on the science. CRC and the anons have always said we don't know enough in this area. They've always maintained that the Spitzer study says what Spitzer and Throckmorton now agree it says.

Don't get testy. Remember the Lawrence Summers hypothesis.

February 20, 2007 5:19 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Aunt Bea said...

I was repeating to clarify the facts and I must admit, I am glad to see you have finally used the word "rare" when discussing Spitzer's findings.

With enough repetition, even you might get it right.

Amazing!

February 20, 2007 4:17 PM

Anonymous (February 20, 2007 5:14 PM) said...

AB

You are now lying. His study didn't have findings on the rate of success...


I didn't say his study had findings on the rate of success.

I merely repeated some facts, specifically Spitzer's own statements made during an interview about his work and Throckmorton's own quote of another statement Spitzer made in a recent telephone call. I also pointed out the fact that your comment included the word "rare" (it did) and the fact that I was glad to see you do that (I was).

I guess that means you think I was lying when I said "With enough repetition, even you might get it right."

Oh, and for everyone's information, here is what Dr. Spitzer wrote in the Discussion section of his study:

"It is unclear how many gays and lesbians in the general population would want to change their sexual orientation or how representative the study sample is of those who would be interested in therapy with that goal. Obviously, this study cannot address the question of how often sexual reorientation therapy actually results in the substantial changes reported by most of the participants in this study. To recruit the 200 participants, it was necessary to repeatedly send notices of the study over a 16-month period to a large number of participants who had undergone some form of reparative therapy. This suggests that the marked change in sexual orientation reported by almost all of the study subjects may be a rare or uncommon outcome of reparative therapy..."

-From Warning, facts ahead's comment containing some text of Spitzer's study posted at:
http://www.teachthefacts.org/2006/11/peters-epistle-to-matthew.html

February 21, 2007 8:06 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

You simply keep making my point that you have no idea what science is. I don't know what more I can say. You make up your own rules, such as -- if twin studies don't show 100% concordance, then the trait is not innate -- and pass that off as science.

Science is process, it is the best we can come up with at the time with the available tools, data, and money to do research. There is a huge body of knowledge, of laws, of consensus-building -- none of which exists in your faith-based worldview. There is always the possibility that our scientific knowledge will change as new discoveries are made, and with that one hopes (as Orin does) comes wisdom. My impression is that you could care less, while all the time you reap the benefits of science and technology.

The overwhelming evidence to date states that sexual orientation and gender identity are primarily innate. It is inconceivable that any reproducing species would leave such things to religious education.

That being said, nothing is 100%. But the point is, that doesn't change anything. Experience and education can help you change your behavior, but only medications and surgery can change your innate attributes, if then. Religious exhortation cannot.

February 21, 2007 9:10 AM  
Anonymous marcus said...

"To recruit the 200 participants, it was necessary to repeatedly send notices of the study over a 16-month period to a large number of participants who had undergone some form of reparative therapy. This suggests that the marked change in sexual orientation reported by almost all of the study subjects may be a rare or uncommon outcome of reparative therapy...""

This is fallacious thinking on Dr Spitzer's part unless there is something he is not telling us.

February 21, 2007 12:31 PM  
Anonymous marcus said...

"Experience and education can help you change your behavior, but only medications and surgery can change your innate attributes, if then. Religious exhortation cannot."

A broad and unsubstantiated statement.

Additionally, sexual preference can just as easily be not innate as innate.

February 21, 2007 12:35 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

The study by Shidlo and Schroeder also showed that "reparitive therapy" is almost always a failure. PFOX has consistently lied by using the Spitzer study to create the false impression that any highly motivated gay can change sexual orientation. Their ommission of Spitzer's opinion that change is rare is highlights their heinous dishonesty and distortion of reality.

February 21, 2007 6:24 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Marcus, the rarity of people merely claiming to have changed sexual orientations as opposed to the hundreds of thousands undergoing "reparitive therapy" strongly suggests that sexual orientation is more likely to be innate than not. If it weren't it would be easily changed by anyone wishing to do so. If you look at the testimonies of the vast majority of "exgays" they admit they are still same sex attracted and that they've merely suppressed their same sex desires.

Honesty and integrity require that everyone be informed that attempts to change orientation overwhelmingly fail. While Spitzer may be convinced that in rare instances change can occur his study provides no proof of that - its all too easy for those claiming to have changed to have lied. Spitzer's definition of "success" was a rather modest change, not at all the complete change of same sex attractions into opposite sex attractions that PFOX would have everyone believe has occurred.

February 21, 2007 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Their ommission of Spitzer's opinion that change is rare"

Spitzer didn't include this statement in his paper. For good reason- the paper was being peer reviewed and his opinion wasn't based on sound scientific data.

February 21, 2007 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the rarity of people merely claiming to have changed sexual orientations as opposed to the hundreds of thousands undergoing "reparitive therapy" strongly suggests that sexual orientation is more likely to be innate than not"

Who said it was rare?

February 21, 2007 8:16 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

"Their ommission of Spitzer's opinion that change is rare"

Spitzer didn't include this statement in his paper. For good reason- the paper was being peer reviewed and his opinion wasn't based on sound scientific data.


Spitzer most certainly did report the possibility that change is rare. Once again, from the Discussion section of his study:

"To recruit the 200 participants, it was necessary to repeatedly send notices of the study over a 16-month period to a large number of participants who had undergone some form of reparative therapy. This suggests that the marked change in sexual orientation reported by almost all of the study subjects may be a rare or uncommon outcome of reparative therapy."

Anon asks again Who said it was rare?

Spitzer.

February 22, 2007 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"To recruit the 200 participants, it was necessary to repeatedly send notices of the study over a 16-month period to a large number of participants who had undergone some form of reparative therapy. This suggests that the marked change in sexual orientation reported by almost all of the study subjects may be a rare or uncommon outcome of reparative therapy.

This is a bunch of BS. Ask any direct mailer. "Notices" sent in the mail have a poor response rate. Especially a request like this could be expected to have a poorer rate than usual.

Here's a quote from Dr Spitzer:

"Like most psychiatrists, I thought that homosexual behavior could be resisted, but sexual orientation could not be changed. I now believe that's untrue--some people can and do change"

You can talk about rarity but the real point is, if one examines these "rare" cases, it's altogether possible that the factors making it possible can be isolated and a cure developed.

February 22, 2007 2:06 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous said "Who said it was rare?"

As Aunt bea pointed out, Spitzer did, not to mention Shidlo and Schroeder.

February 22, 2007 2:26 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous said "You can talk about rarity but the real point is, if one examines these "rare" cases, it's altogether possible that the factors making it possible can be isolated and a cure developed.".

Anonymous, love needs no cure. What needs to be cured is the oppression and hatred society heaps on those who harm no one. There is nothing saying that any of the people Spitzer believed changed orientation actually did so - its highly likely they were all lying. There's a reason why he said they would all refuse to undergo polygraph and plethysmograph testing on the veracity of their claims. And even Spitzer's definition of "success" was not what most people would consider success - If I remember correctly he put it in terms of a 10% change in desire from gay to heterosexual, certainly not the complete change from gay to straight that liars like PFOX and Exodus encourage everyone to believe has taken place.

People have been attempting to "cure" gays with this kind of nonsense for over 50 years. It was an overwhelming failure then just as its an overwhelming failure now. The vast majority of mental health professionals have recognized that a "cure" has been attempted with all possible manner of approaches and that it doesn't work - its time to move on. No gay owes it to you to stop being gay just to make you or anyone else happy. You don't have a right to control any life other than your own, how profoundly selfish of you to think otherwise.

February 22, 2007 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Phentermine said...

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August 13, 2007 3:25 PM  

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