Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How the Other Side Thinks

We have not always thought of Warren Throckmorton as our friend. He co-authored an early report criticizing the Montgomery County Public Schools' revised sex-ed curriculum, and generally over the years has taken the social-conservative side of the issues. He is a Psych professor at a small Christian college who appears to support therapy to help gay people behave like heterosexuals, though he does not appear to believe they will ever change their true sexual orientation. Over the years it has seemed like he has noticed many instances of maliciousness and falsehood by players on the righthand side of the field, and you have to admit he has been fair about it. He is conservative but does not appear to be an ideologue.

Recently he relayed a RightWing Watch post about a radio interview where a leader of an anti-gay Christian group, Wallbuilders, referred to the American College of Pediatricians as "the leading pediatric association in America."

Of course they are not. The American Academy of Pediatrics has about 60,000 members and speaks for the community of pediatricians. The American College of Pediatricians has between 60 and 200 members and speaks for religious conservatives who believe homosexuality can be "cured." Rightwing Watch has a recording of the radio show and a rough transcript. It is fascinating. At one point David Barton of Wallbuilders quotes the American College of Pediatricians and the interviewer says, "You’re kidding. Wait, this is the Pediatric Association?" and Barton says, "Yeah."

No, it is not the "Pediatric Association," this is a rightwing fringe group that is pretending to be a "Pediatric Association." Later Barton says, “Well that’s a remarkable letter coming from the leading pediatric association in America.”

One of Throckmorton's readers named Bernie wrote to Wallbuilders to ask then if they really thought the American College of Pediatricians was the "the leading pediatric association in America."

The response he got from Barton is incredible:
I am not aware of anything from our broadcast that was inaccurate. Nothing in the transcript you sent is wrong or false. We may disagree on what constitutes “leading,” but neither David or I said the ACP was the largest. As often happens, the larger associations become either stagnant or politically correct and lose the leadership qualities that make an organization “leading” in their profession. Meanwhile, a perhaps smaller, but more professional and cutting edge organization begins to lead by stating facts and putting forth truthful research the older organization is afraid to release due to political correctness. Wallbuilder’s Rick Green defends comments about pediatrics associations

He defends his statement by nuancing the meaning of the word "leading." For him and his peer group of gay-loathing religious nuts, the ACP is the leading group, even though they represent approximately less than one third of one percent of the number of pediatricians in the American Academy of Pediatrics (using the high estimate of 200), because the ACP espouses ideas consistent with his group's beliefs.

To his mind, he spoke absolute truth, or as we say, the "gospel truth," when he called them "the leading group." Somewhere in the realm of illogic inhabited by these people it is perfectly honest to refer to a tiny, powerless, laughingstock group of homophobes as "the leading pediatric association in America" while ignoring the fact that nearly every pediatrician in the US belongs to another group.

It's hard to fight this sort of thing, you can quote facts and use reason all day long and they are not persuaded and neither are the gullible media who report their craziness as "the other side" of a controversy. You just have to keep shining light on them and hope they will scurry back under the baseboards where they belong.


Anonymous grantdale said...

As two people who have a torrid history with him, I think it would be fair to say Warren still is an ideologue. Personally. (Meh, and so what.)

But he's also come to understand how grotesque, how dishonest, how uninformed, how embarrassing, and how crude and cruel his former anti-gay travelers can be.

I think Warren has also come to understand that those he once viewed as two-dimensional victims are actually far more disparate and far more nuanced that he formerly believed. He's not the first to discover that gay people, per se, are not damaged goods; on true examination.

We cannot all live and learn, but some can. Even if it takes years of effort.

Hope springs eternal.

August 16, 2011 11:26 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

I am pleased with the progress Throckmorton has made but hope eventually he'll complete the course and become a full supporter of equal rights. Given the religious dogma he holds dear this seems doubtful to me although admittedly the progress he has made to this point seemed highly unlikely to me back then too.

August 16, 2011 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like the American College of Pediatricians agrees with all other medical guilds EXCEPT the AAP.

The AAP has lost its credibility when it falsely states:
What Determines Sexual Orientation?
An estimated 2 to 5 percent of adolescents are homosexual, the same percentage as among adults. Scientists generally agree that several factors converge to form a person’s sexual orientation. But there is increasing evidence that human beings may be genetically predisposed toward heterosexuality or homosexuality. These tendencies may even be established prior to birth, just as gender, hair color and complexion are all preprogrammed. Contrary to what some believe, we do not choose to be straight or gay. Come adolescence, a person is innately drawn toward one sex or the other.

August 17, 2011 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the contrary, the American College of Pediatrics freely admits that homosexuality "develops from a combination of environmental and biological influences" and the "greater incidence of SSA among identical versus fraternal twins, which suggests the presence of inherited predisposing traits."

The issue that separates ACP from all the mainstream professional medical and mental health associates is their belief that reparative therapy can change gays to straights. Their 2008 paper cited Throckmorton's ten year old 1998 research ("In 1998, Dr. Throckmorton conducted an extensive review of reorientation reports published in the Journal of Mental Health.") to support their harmful claim.

Rather than update their reports to include Dr. Throckmorton's latest research findings, they stick with the old reports to "prove" - wink wink - their point.

Anyone trained in the scientific method knows that clinging to old outdated research is not scientific. In this case, citing outdated research is done purely for political purposes.

There is another group that supports the ACP's view on reparative therapy, and that's NARTH, the group that recently scrubbed George Alan Rekers of RentBoy fame from its website. Until he hired the Rentboy to carry his bags, thereby demonstrating his dishonesty, Rekers was a higly credentially big supporter of reparative therapy.

August 17, 2011 11:07 AM  

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