Friday, September 23, 2016

A lesson on how conservative Christians confuse themselves and then others

Conservative Christians are desperate for scientific confirmation of their theology. If they cannot find it, they will create it. That is how we end up with pronouncements like abortion causes breast cancer (it doesn't). It is why 80% of Evangelical Christians do not believe that humans cause climate change. If you don't like the science, make up your own.

Consider this example of how misinformation goes from crackpot to crackpot, from outlet to outlet, in the absence of critical thinking (this requires some patience):

According to Fr. Johannes Jacobse at the American Orthodox Institute, “American Psychological Association Course Correction: Sexual Orientation and ‘Gender Identity’ Not Fixed After All.” Jacobse goes on the explain that, California psychologist Laura A. Haynes (stay with me):
In the APA Handbook, Dr. Diamond states, “Hence, directly contrary to the conventional wisdom that individuals with exclusive same-sex attractions represent the prototypical ‘type’ of sexual-minority individual, and that those with bisexual patterns of attraction are infrequent exceptions, the opposite is true. Individuals with nonexclusive patterns of attraction are indisputably the ‘norm,’ and those with exclusive same-sex attractions are the exception” (v. 1, p. 633). Most people who experience same-sex attraction also already experience opposite-sex attraction.
I don't know if Lisa Diamond at University of Utah wrote that and there are 21 authoritative titles bearing the name APA Handbook. Nevertheless, that seems like a reasonable argument. That is until the Good Father interprets:
What this means in plain English is what many of us have known all along: Sexuality desire is fluid, homosexual desire is not “hard-wired;” that “born that way and can’t change” is a myth; feelings don’t overrule volition (behavior is a choice, one does not need to act on every feeling — especially sexual feelings); the “born that way” argument is political, not scientific; sexual orientation is subject to change among others.
No! That is not at all what it means — in plain English, Latin or any other language. It has absolutely nothing to do with either fluidity, the innateness of sexual orientation or the ability to change sexual orientation. What it means is that sexual orientation is a continuum with heterosexual and homosexual at the extreme ends. What Diamond is saying (if, indeed, that passage was written by Diamond) is that most people are not at the extreme ends. Jacobse likes his version better than the actual science so his version prevails. But we are not done!

The far right Catholic outlet, picked up Jacobse's “wisdom.” Their headline reads: “APA researcher explodes myth: Gays aren’t ‘born that way’.” Fr. Mark Hodges writes:
A top researcher with the American Psychological Association (APA) and lesbian activist has acknowledged that gays are not "born that way."

Dr. Lisa Diamond, co-editor-in-chief of the APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology and one of the APA’s “most respected members," says sexual orientation is "fluid" and not unchangeable.

As clinical psychologist Dr. Laura A. Haynes summarizes Diamond's APA Handbook chapters, her book and YouTube lectures, "The battle to disprove 'Born that way and can’t change’ is now over, and (Diamond) is telling LGBT activists to stop promoting the myth."
That link is back to Jacobse at American Orthodox Institute. There's more to this, including a lecture that (the controversial) Dr. Diamond gave three years ago but I wanted to avoid some of the moving parts. By the end of the day I am sure that this will be repeated in other outlets countless times and read by countless people who lack the intellectual curiosity to explore the matter. Furthermore, it says what they want to hear and that's good enough. God provides.

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