Researcher Blasts NARTH Official for “Blatant Misquotation”

Jim Burroway

September 2nd, 2009

A researcher has blasted a prominent NARTH official for misrepresenting his work, calling it a “blatant misquotation.” That denunciation has led one conservative Christian psychologist and supporter of Sexual Identity Therapy to call for an apology and retraction by the NARTH official.

Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton discovered a lengthy undated book review by NARTH Past President A. Dean Byrd, Brigham Young University Social Work professor, Shirley Cox, and private practitioner, Jeff Robinson for a Mormon apologetics web site. In the book review Byrd and company blasted the book’s authors for offering a realistic portrayal of the unlikelihood of changing one’s sexual orientation. Never mind that the 2004 book was not in any way gay-affirming — the book was published by LDS publisher Deseret Books and the authors come down squarely on LGBT people conforming to Mormon teachings which condemn same-sex relationships — Byrd was upset that the books authors chose not to distort science in the process similar to what Byrd and his co-authors used in their book review.

The book review itself is a classic anti-gay polemic which not only provides an untenable view of the certainty of “change,” but also goes through great lengths to try to demonstrate that homosexuality is a mental illness — a core NARTH position that is in direct odds with professional psychiatry, psychology and psychotherapy. In the book review, Byrd and his co-authors assert that gays and lesbians have a much higher incidence of mental illness, and that this incidence is not explainable by stigma:

Activist researcher J. Michael Bailey offered other hypotheses: “homosexuality represents a deviation from normal development and is associated with other such deviations that may lead to mental illness,” or “the consequences of lifestyle differences associated with sexual orientation” leads to mental illness or “behavioral risk factors associated with male homosexuality such as receptive anal sex and promiscuity” leads to mental illness.

In Byrd’s highly selective quotes, the reader would be led to believe that these “other hypothesis” better explain the incidence of mental distress in LGBT people than stigma. It’s normal for researchers to examine all hypotheses and evaluate their relative viabilities. It doesn’t mean the researcher endorses them, believes they have merit, or that they outweight the primary hypothesis. And that’s the case here. Warren Throckmorton contacted Dr. Bailey and received this reaction:

I was dismayed to read Byrd, Cox and Robinson\’s summary of my views. In the context of a debate about the reasons for higher rates of mental illness among homosexual individuals, Byrd et al cites me as “offering” several hypotheses other than the increased stigmatization of homosexual people. It is unfortunate and misleading that they did not indicate that I discussed some versions of the hypotheses they mention alongside the stigma hypothesis. I was noncommittal about the merits of the hypotheses, because the required scientific research had not been conducted (and still hasn\’t for the most part). I concluded: “it would be a shame—most of all for gay men and lesbians whose mental health is at stake—if sociopolitical concerns prevented researchers from conscientious consideration of any reasonable hypothesis.” But I also wrote: “It would indeed be surprising if antihomosexual attitudes were not part of the explanation of increased suicidality among homosexual people, but this remains to be demonstrated.”

One of Byrd et al\’s out-of-context quotations is so egregiously wrong that it amounts to a blatant misquotation. They suggest that I believe that “behavioral risk factors associated with male homosexuality such as receptive anal sex and promiscuity leads to mental illness.” I do not. I brought up receptive anal sex and (relative) promiscuity as factors that help explain increased rates of HIV infection among gay men. I said explicitly that it was unclear how these could help explain the increased rates of suicidality and depression among homosexual people. I favor open debate on controversial issues, including those related to sexual orientation. But constructive debate depends on responsible, accurate reporting of facts (and facts include what other people actually said and meant). In these remarks Dean Byrd, Shirley Cox and Jeff Robinson fail to live up to these requirements. For those interested in what I really said, please see the actual article that Byrd et al mischaracterize.

Dr. Throckmorton, who supports Sexual Identity Therapy (which may or may not include goals for changing sexual orientation identity and/or behavior) calls for an apology and a retraction:

In my opinion, Byrd, Cox and Robinson owe Bailey an apology and a retraction. Here I have only dealt with the misrepresentation of Bailey\’s views. According to this rebuttal by Ty Mansfield, the entire review is a lengthy misrepresentation of his book. And I am not the only one who believes Byrd et al have done an injustice to this book and to the science of sexual orientation.

Ben in Oakland

September 2nd, 2009

Dr. Throckmorton;

On the one hand, good for you.

On the other hand, there is an expression about lying down with dogs and what about the fleas.

John

September 2nd, 2009

This group of mormon NARTH members and their dishonest attacks on gay people just add more bricks in the wall separating mormons from gay people. This ongoing mormon campaign of hate has already hurt individual mormons, and must certainly be affecting their never-ending quest to convert everyone to mormonism.

How many Americans who were previously neutral with regard to the mormon church, are now firmly opposed to and suspicious of all mormons?

Joe

September 2nd, 2009

Bravo, Dr. Throckmorton!

And thanks Jim for posting this.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

 

Latest Posts

Texas Leads A Five-State Lawsuit Over Obamacare Transgender Rules

Wikileaks Outs Saudi Gay Men, Male Rape Victims, People With HIV

Is Australia's Marriage Equality Plebiscite Doomed?

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Today In History, 1970: New York Times Looks At "Homosexuals In Revolt"

Today In History, 1977: "The Advocate" Reports Another FBI Document Dump On Gay Rights Groups

Today In History, 1977: Houston Klan: "We Endorse and Seek the Execution of All Homosexuals"

Today In History, 1988: Canada's Largest Protestant Church Accepts Gay Ordination

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.