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Here's my response to this week's challenge:
Posted by Alan Shlemon on May 21, 2015 at 03:00 AM in :Alan Shlemon, Challenge Q&A, Ethics, Science, Video | Permalink
Could you put here pointers to some of the research done in the past about homosexuality that you mentioned?
May 21, 2015 at 04:37 AM
Andre, it's in his Ambassador's Guide to Homosexuality.
Cory C |
May 21, 2015 at 06:17 AM
Why not just answer with, "We are all born heterosexual." And if one chooses to continue to tell the person asking the question who may be homosexual that they are homosexual because of developmental factors in their childhood - well then I say good luck with that.
May 21, 2015 at 06:18 AM
The true and righteous question is...what will you do with your sexual desires, your body?
Nobody escapes this question. And this is the only question that matters. This is the eternal question all of mankind will face before a holy, righteous, glorious God full of goodness and beauty.
Phyte On |
May 21, 2015 at 06:46 AM
Alan says homosexual orientation develops (after birth). Period. He claims this has been known for a hundred years. Wow.
But there are studies of twins raised apart that seem to indicate, contrary to what Alan says, that there is either a component that is either genetic or prenatal or both.
These studies are not great. So, those who work on this have to be conservative about what they claim. They don't claim, for example, that later childhood development plays no role.
Alan should be similarly conservative: he should not claim to know that homosexuality is purely developmental let alone that it develops 100% after birth.
Luckily, it doesn't matter because, here in the U.S., we have freedom of religion and that means we're not bound by your religion whatever Romans says.
May 21, 2015 at 10:10 AM
I didn't choose to be born with four functional limbs either, but I still consider that healthy and normal.
Even if it could be proven that there is a "gay gene" it doesn't mean that it is a good thing. Alcoholics and paedophiles might make the same claim, but we wouldn't accept it for them. The "born that way" claim is a non-argument; the moral justification for celebrating homosexuality (for those who care about morality) must be made on other grounds.
May 22, 2015 at 05:22 AM
Actually RonH, many of the identical twin studies have shown that only rarely do both twins develop same-sex attraction. Which actually demonstrates that genes play a very minor role, if any role at all. (http://www.narth.com/#!gay---born-that-way/cm6x). The developmental origins of same sex attractions are, as I mentioned above, well known and predictable (as far as psychology can know and predict anything). Sexual behavior and preferences are developmental. Gays often claim that they've "always felt different" or they've "always been attracted to boys". But these are false impressions read back into their pasts.
Nearly every person "always felt different" from the other kids. We all often see how we deviate from what our culture tells us is the "standard" and often experience fear about that deviation causing us separation or ostracization from others. This is what causes the ubiquitious social and psychological power of peer pressure. This is common, for example, among "nerds". Because each of us ARE different we will always feel different. Because none of us measure up to the cultural and social "standards" set by our peers, parents, and pop-culture we will always feel different and often fear our differences since we see the "different" getting discriminated against.
We all are, as pre-adolecents, attracted to people of the same sex, and often repulsed by kids of the opposite sex. This does not mean sexually attracted, of course, because our bodies and brains lack both the physical hardware and psychological software for sexual attraction that don't develop until puberty (that's what "puberty" means). We are attracted to FRIENDS. Indeed in the years just before puberty hits this same-sex attraction/opposite-sex repulsion hits its highest peaks. This is the height of the "girls/boys are icky" stage and the girl/boy rivalry so common on school playgrounds that we often find, as adults, so cute and funny because we know how much that attitude will change over the next two to four years.
It's only after one's sexual identity develops that these natural attractions to form friendships and seek approval from others of the same sex pre-puberty are reinterpreted to become "I was always attracted to (implied: sexually) boys".
And "freedom of religion" does not mean that your not bound by whatever Romans says. Romans 1 is the Truth. Freedom of religion means you are free to be wrong about the Truth and I cannot, by force of law, force you to accept the Truth. It does not mean that you are free from the Truth. It's still True.
On the other hand, it does appear that people who disagree or wish to suppress the Truth can do so with the force of law, as we see several states have now passed laws making any therapist acting on the knowledge that homosexuality is developmental, fluid (and therefore treatable) can be legally persecuted out of their job.
May 22, 2015 at 07:51 AM
I can see you're passionate about the subject, but you're incorrect about freedom of religion. It means a guarantee that we can worship as we please. So if you wanted to start your own branch of the Westboro Baptist church or if you converted to fundamentalist Islam and wanted to shout "Death to America!" on YouTube, the government has no right to stop you.
As to conversion therapy, it doesn't work. Period. If it did there would probably be thousands upon thousands of "ex-gays" on your side.
May 22, 2015 at 10:45 AM
Your argument is this:
1. If conversion therapy worked there would be thousands upon thousands of "ex-gays" on the side of conversion therapy.
2. There are not thousands upon thousands of "ex-gays" on the side of conversion therapy.
3. Therefore, conversion therapy doesn't work.
But premise 1 looks gratuitous. There are at least some people who claim that conversion therapy worked for them. To get a better idea of whether or not conversion therapy is effective we would need the following (and maybe more):
(a) A good definition of what counts and does not count as conversion therapy.
(b) A good number of homosexuals who want to experience "conversion" and follow through with the program.
(c) The rate of recidivism among homosexuals who "complete" the program.
(d) The rate of recidivism among a similar group going through a similar sort of therapy.
To expand on (d): suppose we take men who are struggling with pornography or paedophilia or some other sexual drive and ask what sorts of therapy the undergo and the recidivism rate. Or it doesn't have to be a sexual drive that one is seeking to overcome. Suppose we look at the various success rates of therapies for drug abuse. I recall reading a jounral article several years ago that was discussing the problem of high recidivism rates generally among therapy programs (I think this was in the journal Psychological Science). If high recidivism rates exist among therapies generally and we don't take that as a reason to dismiss the field of therapy generally, why would we dismiss this particular form of therapy?
Maybe someone else has already done all the necessary research to show that all forms of conversion therapy fail disproportionately in relation to other forms of therapy. But I'm not aware of such research. Granted this issue is so politicized that one has to have a bit of skepticism in regards research in this field... the North American Journal of Psychology made this point a few years ago in an article "Can Anyone Tell Me Why I'm Gay?"
The Janitor |
May 22, 2015 at 11:36 AM
Rag Time, you said,
"As to conversion therapy, it doesn't work. Period. If it did there would probably be thousands upon thousands of "ex-gays" on your side. "
Guess what? There ARE thousands and thousands of exGays.
(Joseph Nicolosi, Psychological Reports, June, 2000)
Also, please learn what 'conversion therapy' is before you throw out all forms of counseling and reparative therapy.
May 22, 2015 at 02:37 PM
Look up the work of Judith Glassgold of the American Psychological Assn. task force charged with creating treatment guidelines for gay and lesbian patients in 2009. Turning someone from gay to straight is not considered a realistic form of treatment.
The best that can be done for someone who is distressed by their homosexual feelings and wants to get rid of them is to support them and encourage celibacy.
Also, Psychological Reports is a "pay to publish" periodical. It's not peer reviewed, which makes it less trustworthy.
May 22, 2015 at 04:12 PM
RagTime, the freedom of religion is NOT the freedom to worship as we please. The wording in the constitution regarding religion is thus "congress shall make no law . . . prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The exercise of religion is far more than the freedom to worship as one pleases. God is real. That truth has implications for how I do business, how I work for my boss, how I supervise my workers, how I entertain myself and my family, how I treat my next door neighbor, how I treat the young gay man down the road whose step-father just kicked out of the house (he's bunking in our guest room while he finds a job), how I treat the planet God made and gave mankind responsibility for caretaking. If God were not real, that would have implications on how I treat other accidental collisions of atoms and the "social contracts" we use to manipulate each other. Reducing the freedom of religion to merely the freedom to worship is like saying the "freedom to eat what you want" means freedom to have all the pizza I want. (Tasty, but not healthy on the whole and far short of the full richness cuisine has to offer).
But just because one is given (by God, as all rights are) the freedom to love God, or choose to love something else in place of God, (and that we enshrine that freedom in our laws) does not mean that God and the moral standard He built into creation goes away. Cultural trends and popular opinion do not make God's standards irrelevant or wrong, just unpopular. But those standards, and the consequences of violating them still remain. (I'm not talking hellfire here, I'm talking the consequences we see daily in terms of broken lives and societies, the want, sickness, and violence of people who treat people as things instead of people.)
Though some have addressed your flawed logic (and proof that you didn't read the article I referenced, since it remarked about research into the fluidity of sexual identity that "ex-gays outnumber actual gays"). I would also like to point out that there are no effective therapies for psychopaths. Does this mean psychopaths (who are far more likely than gays to have been "born that way") should have their disorder stricken from the APA's list of psychological disorders? Indeed, on the whole, the entire field of psychology has a very mixed record when it comes to effectively treating a wide array of recognized psychological problems from addictions, to phobias, to OCD, to PTSD. Simply because we don't know how to cure someone like Adrian Monk (yes, he's a fictional character, he is a convenient example people recognize) doesn't mean he doesn't have psychological disorders. Alcoholics Anonymous works for a lot of people suffering from unwanted intoxicant attraction. But there are a lot of people it doesn't work for. Does that mean their 12-step method is ineffective or even immoral to implement? Should state legislatures ban AA groups like they're banning therapists from even discussing the treatability of unwanted same-sex attraction.
You dismiss the research and experience out there supporting the effectiveness of therapists helping homosexuals find healing because it's not "peer reviewed". Peer review is a demonstrably flawed and corrupt process designed to propagate the status quo and dismiss challenges to it. That makes "peer reviewed" articles commissioned by the APA (and given millions of dollars) to "prove" the ineffectiveness of therapies for people suffering from unwanted same-sex attraction (enough to justify California, New Jersey, and now Washington making said therapies illegal) less trustworthy, in my opinion.
May 22, 2015 at 11:01 PM
I'm saddened to see a challenge response that misrepresents the state of the actual research. Most of the ideas about developmental causes that Alan mentions are from Sigmund Freud. Normally, Christians are smarter than to take Freud's ideas as gospel truth, but for some reason with homosexuality some do. If there were actually a good research consensus, this wouldn't be such an issue. (After all, an idea is not wrong simply because Freud came up with it.) But although Freud's ideas were explored for the time Alan mentioned, the evidence behind them is nowhere near as good as Alan claims.
Alan makes it sound like there was an airtight case before politics changed the situation. This simply isn't true; there is still more that we don't know about the causes of same-sex attraction than we do. We don't have nearly enough evidence to assert that the developmental causes are certain or that biological causes can be ruled out.
Specifically, there are a lot of people (myself included) that don't fit the mold of what is expected for someone who develops same-sex attraction. Many of the "causes" are also experiences that, sadly, are super common in our society even among people who don't develop same-sex attraction. The use of specific developmental narratives also creates a selection bias in who is more likely to seek treatment.
There are also no good theological reasons to assume that same-sex attraction must be a developmental condition. We know that people are born with a sin nature. We know that there are a variety of inborn disorders. We live in a fallen world. And same-sex attraction does not prevent a person from living chastely any more than heterosexual temptation does, although the implication of celibacy for many does certainly make it more difficult.
Regarding some of the other comments, I think there's some talking past going on with regards to the effectiveness of therapies. Attempts to change a person's sexual attractions are generally ineffective for most people. That's a reality that we need to deal with, rather than ignoring. This creates real pastoral questions for real people, including myself and many of my believing friends. We can talk all we want about how there could theoretically be an effective treatment out there, but without identifying what that treatment is, none of our difficulties go away.
Where these efforts have a nontrivial success rate (though not a perfect record) is in achieving chastity in the midst of experiencing same-sex attraction. That is the goal we actually need to pursue, combined with a frank acknowledgment that most of these chaste Christians are still "gay" in the sense most use the word these days. I've also known several people who have come to experience a significant sexual attraction to someone of the opposite sex, but who continue to experience same-sex attraction as before. This is the exception rather than the rule, but is often what is going on with "ex-gays."
Jeremy Erickson |
May 23, 2015 at 08:48 AM
Actually RonH, many of the identical twin studies have shown that only rarely do both twins develop same-sex attraction.
What you mean to say is only rarely is the second twin gay given that the first is.
Accepting your loaded terminology the point is this: Even more 'rarely' still do people in general 'develop same-sex attraction'.
That is why these studies are evidence for a genetic FACTOR in homosexuality.
Given that one twin is gay, it is more common for the second twin to be gay than it is for people in general even when the twins are raised apart.
The developmental origins of same sex attractions are, as I mentioned above...
Above what? I see no post of your above the one I'm quoting.
May 25, 2015 at 12:27 PM
"Even if it could be proven that there is a "gay gene" it doesn't mean that it is a good thing."
It would bring up an interesting discussion.
Is a woman deciding to abort because a fetus has tested positive for said gene homophobic, and should homophobia based abortion be allowed?
Trent Collicutt |
May 26, 2015 at 02:28 PM
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