Monday, August 22, 2016

Ryan T. Anderson needs a proctor

Ryan T. Anderson
Ryan T. Anderson writes at Heritage Foundation's blog:
A major new report, published today in the journal The New Atlantis, challenges the leading narratives that the media has pushed regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.

Co-authored by two of the nation’s leading scholars on mental health and sexuality, the 143-page report discusses over 200 peer-reviewed studies in the biological, psychological, and social sciences, painstakingly documenting what scientific research shows and does not show about sexuality and gender.

Back the fuck up.

There is nothing new about this and it is not a major report. Major reports are published to peer reviewed scholarly journals. The New Atlantis is not peer reviewed and it is a project of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. EPPC is a conservative Catholic organization headed by Ed Whelan with an assist from  George Weigel. The authors did not engage in an independent investigation of anything. Rather, this is a cherry picking of existing research to suit a predetermined ideological conclusion.

Those two “leading scholars” are Lawrence S. Mayer (who is out of his depth on sexuality — he is a biostatistician-epidemiologist) and Paul R. McHugh. McHugh insists that transgender people do not exist. Everyone involved in this, … paper is a Defender of the Faith™, as is Ryan Anderson. Anderson seems to be a miserably closeted gay man.

Who needs Mayer and McHugh? You can get this information from Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus). His treatise was written when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (nee the Inquisition). The fact that Ratzinger is a theologian and catechist rather than a social scientist is apparently irrelevant.

I have a simple standard. Research is published to double-blind peer reviewed scholarly journals. Everything else is bullshit. Wading in the shallow end:
Here are four of the report’s most important conclusions:
  1. The belief that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically fixed human property—that people are ‘born that way’—is not supported by scientific evidence.
  2. Likewise, the belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex—so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’—is not supported by scientific evidence.
  3. Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.
  4. Non-heterosexual and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, suicide), as well as behavioral and social problems (substance abuse, intimate partner violence), than the general population. Discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity.
Point 1 puts these people at odds with their own professional organization (the American Psychiatric Association) which assert that sexual orientation is innate. That is supported by a mountain of peer reviewed scientific research including numerous twin studies.

Point 2 also puts these people at odds with the APA. Transgender people do exist and there is no effective medical intervention for people with gender dysphoria. In the absence of an intervention medical and counseling professionals provide support in various forms.

Point 3 is possibly true. However, children are not encouraged to be transgender. The are encouraged to be who they are. Great care is taken with children before they are provided with puberty blockers or hormones. Children are not candidates for sex reassignment surgery. They become candidates at 18 and typically wait until their 20s.

Point 4 is irrelevant to human sexuality. If discrimination alone does not account for the disparity in mental health, what percentage can be attributed to those other factors? Would one of those factors be ignorance spread by people who should know better? How can that be determined? The authors cannot answer those questions and they concede that most of the mental health problems are the result of discrimination. I would call it a combination of discrimination and opprobrium. Just because some people do not approve of gays or transgenders doesn't mean that people should, or can, cease to be gay or transgender. It makes no sense.

The authors of this prattle cannot answer many important questions including why they have a monopoly on wisdom apart for their professional organizations. They should stop being agents of ignorance on behalf of the Catholic Church which only creates greater discrimination and disapproval.

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