Thursday, April 25, 2019

The National Review misses the point

A 2017 Heritage Foundation panel of anti-transgender advocates
(L-R) Ryan T. Anderson, Michelle Cretella, Paul Hruz, Allan Josephson

via YouTube/Heritage Foundation
According to George Leef on Thursday: A Medical School Professor Runs Afoul of the PC Enforcers. Leef's misadventure is on the part of Dr. Allan Josephson. George Leef is the director of research for the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, a conservative North Carolina organization.

As you may recall, Josephson has sued the University of Louisville for viewpoint discrimination. He is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (an anti-LGBT hate group). Until two years ago, Josephson was head of pediatric psychiatry at the university. Then in February, 2019 the university informed Josephson that his contract would no be renewed for the following academic year.
According to Mr. Leef:
Dr. Allan Josephson has been in medical practice since 1976 and after two other university medical-school appointments, he was tabbed in 2003 to become chief of Louisville Medical School’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology. He performed exceptionally well in that role.

But Dr. Josephson is not in agreement with the current “progressive” thinking about dealing with gender dysphoria and said so on a panel at a Heritage Foundation event in 2017. For his deviationism, the medical school came down on him like a ton of bricks.
That is incorrect. You need to start with the understanding that Josephson is far from expert in the area of gender dysphoria. According to court records:
In forty-one years, Dr. Josephson has never published a study analyzing transgender identity or healthcare, or gender dysphoria, has not been engaged in any peer-reviewed analyses in these areas and has not engaged in any scientific studies in this area including any research on related topics. Dr. Josephson has never given a presentation on transgender identity or gender dysphoria in any serious medical or scientific setting. He has never undertaken any coursework to better understand transgender healthcare issues, never been a part of any of the professional organizations that promulgate standards of care for transgender healthcare, and (unlike his colleagues at University of Louisville) he does not list LGBT healthcare as an area of interest or specialty. Dr. Josephson does not teach any courses to medical students regarding LGBT care, though his colleagues do.
This matter has absolutely nothing to do with political correctness. The problem is four-fold:
  1. On that Heritage Foundation panel Dr. Josephson dishonestly presented himself (or allow himself to be presented) as an expert on gender dysphoria. He is not.
  2. Josephson promoted faith-based religious dogma over evidence-based medical science.
  3. It was not just the Heritage panel. Josephson has been an inexpert expert witness going back to 2016 (Highland v. United States Department of Education). In those cases he has testified on behalf of school districts seeking to discriminate against transgender students while professing to have scientific erudition that he does not possess.
  4. Dr. Josephson is a promoter of thoroughly discredited conversion therapy. Conversion therapy lacks any scientific basis.
According to Josephson:
The key is to adequately diagnose and treat the underlying causes of gender dysphoria, he said. “If we ignore pain, the bottom line is that we might miss a diagnosis and chance for developmental progress.”
This issue is not about a difference of opinion among experts. This is about the danger of a professor, an authority figure, conveying false information based on religious beliefs, to students and colleagues. It is comparable to a biology professor and department head claiming that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, Darwin is rubbish, and the real scientific understanding of biology comes from Creationism.

Leef concludes:
He’s not going quietly, however. With the expert assistance of Alliance Defending Freedom, he has filed suit against the university for violating his rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. I think his case looks strong and will follow it. The university may wind up giving him his job back and parting with a substantial sum of money to cover compensatory damages, punitive damages, and legal fees, all because of a few intolerant folks on the faculty who couldn’t abide a veteran doctor disagreeing with them.
Again, this is about professional (or unprofessional) behavior. It's not about disagreement. I have not seen Josephson's contract. Nor has Mr. Leef. However, I doubt that the university is compelled to renew the contract. The biggest problem might be the fact that he is probably time-barred as Kentucky has a one-year statute of limitations. His demotion dates back to 2017, salary reduction to February, 2018. He sued on March 28, 2019.

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