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March 01, 2012

Comments

If the article began badly, it ended wonderfully. As a strait person who was a member of a theater program at a conservative college the amount of my friends who were either closeted or came out after school left me solidly in the 10% of strait theater majors. So while Kinsey may have chosen his population poorly 10% is not a terrible figure. 1948 is not quite the period we look to for fair and balanced perceptions of homosexuality so one might wonder just a bit about his critics. It is even less a poor statistic if you include individuals who identify as bisexual and transgender. Add in an incalculable number for those who aren't "out" and 10% seems rather conservative. Regardless of the "true" number however the notion that the Church's duty is first to show love to the gay community is a solid point. Most of my gay friends have been in a very heart breaking way victims of Christian hate by their own families, most to the extent that I'm one of the few Christians they still talk to. It angers me to no end that we often rely on reason and argument before love and the Holy Spirit to attempt to "fix" hurting people who the church broke in the first place. Certainly sin is unacceptable to God, but the Church is a faith community of redeemed sinners.

This is one of those "my mind's made up; don't confuse me with the facts" kind of deals, isn't it?

Nope, this is one of those depending on the population your going to get a mixed bag statistic wise. My point was that given my experience with a certain population, I find 1 or 2% seems highly unlikely. Even given an population in the several of thousands just were you asked your questions would be very key to your results for instance the difference between say Los Angeles and Oklahoma would be stagering. Unless of course the statistics are inspired because you agree with them.

A few thoughts:

1) How should we treat homosexuals?

2) How do homosexuals perceive Christians? Do they feel like "victims of Christian hate"?


3) How should we treat child rapists, drunks, murderers, terrorists, and thieves?


4) How do we respond to child rapists, drunks, murderers, terrorists, and thieves who are unrepentant and unashamed of their sin, who seek to justify it and legitimize it?

5) How do we respond to homosexuals who are unrepentant and unashamed of their sin, who seek to justify it and legitimize it?

5) Are their perceptions of Christians by all those groups accurate or warped by sin?

It should go without saying that I'm not trying to suggest a moral equivalence between any of the sins listed above. But should we answer the question differently for, say, someone who raped your child than, say, your child's homosexual partner? Why or why not?

Compare the publication dates of [2], [3], [4], and [5], then consider the contents of the paragraph in which [5] is used.


Further, the author neglected to mention that [4] states this:

"nearly 25.6 million Americans (11%) acknowledge at least some same-sex sexual attraction."

As Foolish notes, statistics tend to be used to prove a point of view not necessarily convince one with " facts". The size of the studies, the racial breakdowns in the article would go a long way to improving the argument made. I merely find 1 or 2% unconvincing not necessarily impossible. Foolish also makes a good point that your numbers will depend very much on how you count attraction/activity.

As for "perception of hate" by Jonathen I find this distasteful. When my friends families won't speak to them we have gone past some murky perception into a very real experience of christian hate. Christians are certainly not to be libertines but to say we have not at times been guilty of causing the least of these to stumble is false.

"As a strait [sic] person who was a member of a theater program at a conservative college the amount of my friends who were either closeted or came out after school left me solidly in the 10% of strait [sic] theater majors. So while Kinsey may have chosen his population poorly 10% is not a terrible figure."

Isn't it obvious that homosexuals gravitate towards theater and the arts? It's unsurprising that the number of homosexuals in a theater program would be 10 percent--or more. How about determining the percentage of homosexuals in the population by looking at male hairstylists?

Brent,

Not speaking to a person isn't necessarily an act of hate. And this gets exactly to my point: is the perception grounded in reality or is it warped due to sin and/or other factors?

Listen to the 1/2/2012 Reasonable Faith podcast "I'm Okay, You're Not."

Craig does a good job exposing the twisted perceptions that people have of Christianity. Personally, in my own conversations with homosexuals, I have experienced their twisted perceptions. I've also had a homosexual tell me that the very act of condemning homosexuality is an act of hate. They said it was equivalent to saying "I'm not racist, I just thinking black people have the wrong color of skin."

To ignore this and take everything homosexuals say for granted, when homosexuals are often crusading not just for tolerance but for acceptance, would be the height of naivety. We don't let the world define what is hateful or loving or tolerant. We need to work that out from Scripture, having enough wisdom to realize that the world's perception of tolerance, love, and hate will sometimes be opposed to our own.

Foolish,

I'm not clear as to the points you are attempting to make.

The dates of the publication do not appear relevant to me. Some were published after 1993, some the same year. Yet it appears that Mr. Stoddard is admitting in 1993 that they used the 10% figure knowing it was likely inflated in order to garner public support for their perspective.

As to the 25.6 million Americans that acknowledge at least some same-sex sexual attraction. I'm not sure what work that statistic does. This number is from the National Health Statistics Report in 2011. This number includes any survey participant who had any same sex interaction from the age of 15 years and up. So what does this number really mean? No one knows. We don't know how many of these respondents had a single encounter during adolescence or if their same-sex interactions continue. It appears to be another statistic with no real meaning.

Brian,

The article clearly states "You’d think that now that the 10% figure has been debunked..." and then proceeds to use a quote from before said debunkment. This is at best extremely careless and at worst blatantly dishonest. Combined with the very conveniently only reporting selected numbers from the article (such as leaving out the 25.6 million in question), it is clear that readers should be extremely careful in how they interpret this article and to what extent they should choose to trust the author.

Basically, my post was intended as a warning to other readers to not take the contents of this article at face value without further consideration.

I'd like to admit that if we make shallow stereotypes and redefine hate so we can justify homophobia I must be wrong. Obviously I'm biased because my friends are hurting and its all because their gay.
Foolish makes an excellent point in that the context of the use of the data is questionable and therefore aught to stand some species of review. When that review is met with the notion that a person is wrong simply for noting a biased selection of a small sample of the available data one wonders if perhaps "facts" are not the main goal here. But to do so is to slip in ad hominem conjectures and speculative.

Alan cherry-picking scientific research in order to prove his point? Par for the course.

Kinsey's studies have long been debunked, and almost anyone who has taken Abnormal Psychology at the college level will know this. No academic with even a hint of integrity relies on Kinsey's study. So on this, I agree with Alan.

But beyond that, this is a poor literature review that would probably be flunked out of many a Psychology 101 course.

Here are some glaring issues I see.

First, 2 and 3 are used in a way that doesn't debunk the 10% claim. "Homosexual contact" is not the issue. The issue is orientation. Not everyone who experiences same sex attraction (be it once during adolescence or persistently throughout life) acts on that attraction. Citing the percentage of people who have same sex contact is fine as far as it goes, but it only goes as far as it goes, too. Contact does not equal orientation; therefore, the use of these statistics sheds no light on what percentage of the population is actually gay.

The use of the data from 4 is equally frustrating. As has already been noted, a hugely important conclusion from this study is left out, namely, that "nearly 25.6 million Americans (11%) acknowledge at least some same-sex sexual attraction."

I would agree with those who point that this quoted sentence by itself isn't conclusive or clear on its own. However, leaving it out entirely when the point of your article is to debunk the notion that 10% of the population is not gay is disingenuous.

Furthermore, the language used in this study is very intentional and relies on self reporting. That's critical. We can't quantify the number of individuals who do have same sex attraction but do not self-identify as gay or lesbian -- for religious, social, or other reasons -- but surely they exist. Is it an enormous leap for us to think that for every one person who is open with their homosexuality that there is at least one "in the closet"? I don't think so.

I pointed this out in the comments of Alan's last article as well. He conveniently cherry picks data to support his argument and ignores the data contrary to his narrative.

With regards to 5-8, if the argument is to debunk the 10% claim, it is irrelevant if pro-gay advocates have used the 10% to their advantage. It's an ad hominem and an attempt at character assassination instead of an honest attempt to pull the truth from the data. If your opponent really is doing something dishonest, the solution is to be honest yourself, not try to beat him at his own game.

Finally, even though we know now that the 10% from Kinsey is suspect, it was the number that was available for a number of years. It's hindsight bias to hold people accountable for using a number then that has only been disproven now.

Hi bglurker.
Much of what you say is true and the percentages listed are really apples and oranges kinds of claims. But although they are not actual debunkers in and of themselves they provide more data and a way to look at the question. They tell you what they tell you and that information was provided in the OP, so this claim of cherry-picking is really the irrelevant ad hom that you accuse Alan of.
There is no attempt to deceive, as your debunking comment shows your research into what the stats actually say only goes so far as to read them right out of the OP.

As for Kinsey, he was a fraud and his numbers and methodologies were criticized from the beginning. For starters, he specifically selected homosexuals from the gay community and advertised for subjects in their publications, thereby purposely skewing his sample. There was never any reason to accept his data and in demonstrating that its popularity does not evidence its truth it is perfectly reasonable to show that the people who propagated it knew it wasn't true.

I guess the only pertinent question is, does the actual percentage matter, and why? Other than for telling the truth, I don't really think it does.

Brgulker,

You said: "a hugely important conclusion from this study is left out, namely, that 'nearly 25.6 million Americans (11%) acknowledge at least some same-sex sexual attraction.'"

It's not clear why you believe this is "hugely important." Do you believe that these 25.6 million Americans are homosexuals? If not, then what exactly is the significance of it?

Hi Daron,

I think Alan's thesis is pretty obvious in his first paragraph.

It’s often said that if you repeat something loud enough and long enough, people will begin to believe it. Such is the case with the claim that 10% of the population is homosexual. Though it’s commonly believed, the figure is rarely questioned.

He uses the data in such a way as to attempt to illustrate that the 10% claim is questionable at best. But he leaves out huge chunks of data from the sources cited and misrepresents the data he does present.

Not telling the whole truth is, by definition, deception. Alan has done this in his two most recent articles on this topic. Blatantly.

If he is going to point that that fewer than 2% of adults have had homosexual contact within the context of attempting to debunk the 10% claim, there are the two obvious problems I noted: orientation does not equal contact, and 11% of the population admits attraction.

If it's not self-evident to you that leaving out that type of information in this context is misleading, I suspect I won't be able to convince you.

My refutation is not an ad hom. It is a direct critique of what he's written, not of the man himself. It is an attempt to expose fatal flaws in the argument, not fatal flaws in the man. You do know what an ad hom attack is, right?

Jonathan,

It's not clear why you believe this is "hugely important." Do you believe that these 25.6 million Americans are homosexuals? If not, then what exactly is the significance of it?

I'm not really sure how to argue this. To me, it's self-evident that if a writer is out to refute the notion that 10% of the population is gay, that writer would do well to address the scientific data which indicates that as much as 11% of the population self reports same sex attraction.

To make a flawed analogy, if I were trying to gauge what percentage of my home state, Michigan, were likely to vote Republican in the 2012 presidential election, I might look at the recent primary results. If I were to project that the only people who are likely to vote R are those who voted for Santorum, not Romney, Paul, etc., that would be absurd. I'd be leaving out huge chunks of the data available to me and as a result come to a fatally flawed opinion.

If I want to know what percentage of the population is heterosexual, I wouldn't exclude virgins that have heterosexual attractions, would I? Would you? If I were to do that, I'd end up with percentage that's much smaller than the reality. The same cuts both ways.

Do you believe that these 25.6 million Americans are homosexuals? If not, then what exactly is the significance of it?

For your first question, I don't know. It's not up for me to decide. That's up to those individuals. As I stated before, there is a lot of pressure to "stay in the closet." Perhaps most of those people will admit to having experience some same sex attraction but aren't willing to admit to actually being gay. I have no idea. I'd be guessing completely.

As to your second question, I hope I've addressed that. In order to know anything about one's sexual orientation, the basic starting point is attraction.

To make a statement about orientation while ignoring attraction is just plain stupid.

For your first question, I don't know. It's not up for me to decide. That's up to those individuals.

Wow, I phrased that horribly.

I didn't mean it's up to those individuals to decide. I mean it's not something I decide, and their decision to self-report being gay is up to them.

I guess we have to accept that selected and obscuring use of data impunes the authors integrity. Its a hard one to take, but I'm sure we'll bare that burden as best we may.

Foolish,

Now I see your point regarding the wording of the paragraph. So readers should just skip the questionably worded paragraph and move on to the Jill Harris quote. I don't think the case that Mr. Shlemon makes is weakened. But it is certainly sloppy writing.

As for the 11% figure you're enamoured with. The report is 35 pages of statistics. Hundreds and hundreds of numbers in those pages. I don't believe there is any way one can claim that Mr. Shlemon "conveniently" "neglected" to include this particular number which is not included in any figure or table. It is in the text at the end of the report. You would have to say the same about dozens of others numbers, many of which support Mr. Shlemon's position. Moreover, you seem to think the number has value. I do not as I briefly explained above.

As for the 11% figure you're enamoured with. The report is 35 pages of statistics. Hundreds and hundreds of numbers in those pages. I don't believe there is any way one can claim that Mr. Shlemon "conveniently" "neglected" to include this particular number which is not included in any figure or table.

As the piece of data that most obviously undermines the claims of the author, it's perfectly natural to call the author out on ignoring it.

So if one teen girl thinks to herself another teen girl is cute, but goes on to a lifetime of hetrosexual relationships, she is still gay?

You'd have to ask your hypothetical person your hypothetical questions to get your answer.

It just means we love them better than they’re loved by the world. That’s the first step in transforming our relationship with them for the sake of transforming their relationship with God.

This not love (for its own sake).

This something else rebranded 'love'.

Without the rebranding, you might give love and they might receive it.

Mind the difference.

RonH

I mean is it enough to have experienced a same sex, unacted upon attraction in order to meet the criteria of the 25 million, or do they have to self identify as gay? If it is the former is it an accurate count of how many gay people there are in the US if they don't self identify as such?

Brgulker,

You said: "As the piece of data that most obviously undermines the claims of the author, it's perfectly natural to call the author out on ignoring it."

Yet you admitted to me that " don't know." whether the people in that "piece of data" are gay. Therefore, you can't know whether that data undermines Alan Shlemon's claims.

That was my point in asking you whether you thought these persons were homosexuals. If you don't even know if they are homosexuals and, thereofore, if they provide a counter-example to Alan Shlemon's claims, why are you parading the statistic as "hugely important"???

RonH,

You said:

This not love (for its own sake).

This something else rebranded 'love'.

Without the rebranding, you might give love and they might receive it.

Mind the difference.

To which I respond:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zlViU5PBPY

Hehe

But seriously, I think it's an important question. Why accuse Alan of "rebranding" love?"

Austin,

Why accuse Alan of "rebranding" love?"

I didn't.

I said he gave something else a new brand: 'love'.

Accusation? No, I was unpacking the two sentences I quoted.

RonH

brgulker - I think this is a most ungracious position. To hold someone accountable to know every piece of data in a 35 page report - the authors of the report don't even know every piece of data. Moreover, this statistic in a minor calculation presented toward the end of this report. All key data are presented in figures and tables. All other data relegated to the text. I don't blame Alan or anyone else for simply looking at the figures and tables to get the most salient information from the report.

However, for argument's sake let me grant you that the statistic should have been included. As I said before, based on reading the report, the authors did not provide any information that would allow us to know more specifically the sexual characteristics of people who fall into this very broad category. I think that of the 26.5 million Americans that are estimated to be in this category, 25 million have simply had 1 or two homosexual interactions and have since lived a heterosexual life. There's no evidence to support my contention, nor is there any evidence that many or most of this 26.5 million people continue to engage in homosexual activity or consider themselves as homosexuals. The statistic is completely uninterpretable. Of course some will imbue it with meaning, but not based on data.

So, in my opinion, the worst that can be said of Alan in this matter is that he blatantly didn't report a meaningless statistic.

Jonathan wrote: I've also had a homosexual tell me that the very act of condemning homosexuality is an act of hate. They said it was equivalent to saying "I'm not racist, I just thinking black people have the wrong color of skin."

I've encountered that, too. Whatever spin doctor decided to sell homosexuality by putting it in the same category as racism was brilliant.

However, the bottom line is that being black or brown or whatever isn't a sin. The Bible has never taught that a person's ethnicity constitutes a sin. Rather, there is no Jew nor Gentile in Jesus. Everybody is equal in his eyes.

However, the Bible does say that homosexuality is a sin. That must be the basis of our argument. We can't let people get away with "Oh, if you are against homosexuality, you're probably a racist, too." There is no connection and we shouldn't be put off by such red herrings.

When somebody tells me: "I am an alcoholic". Must he think, I am a hater if I condem that behavior? Is it hate if I try to provide a way out of his alcoholism, a life without the bottle?
Homosexuality is a behavior and NOT a specific ethnicity.
....so I agree with Alan. WE NEED TO LOVE THEM BETTER! We need to be there for them, like we are there for the alcoholic, the homeless, the drug-addict. They need to be our friends, our focus ...they need our care if they want to have a chance ...
Theodore Roosevelt: 'No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care'

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