Thursday, March 12, 2020

Tony Perkins Demonstrates His Extraordinary Grasp of Research

“…neither of these sociopaths gives a rat's ass about what is best for children. They are defending the ancient texts that they subscribe to as literal truth.”
Tony Perkins
Hate group leader Tony Perkins (Family Research Council) has a thing or two to say about research that he doesn't like. Mr. Perkins, you see, does not approve of transgender persons. The reason that Perkins does not like transgender people is that he is a Christian literalist and the existence of trans people conflicts with a passage in Genesis.

Tony Perkins doesn't like gay people either. To preserve religious purity he is obliged to insist that sexual orientation is a choice. When science and scripture are in conflict, the scripture prevails for Perkins.

I am reliably informed that Mr. Perkins is especially careful around mirrors, carries a rabbit's foot, flees at the sight of a black cat and never walks under ladders. FRC did not respond to an inquiry regarding Perkins' willingness to step on sidewalk cracks.

According to Tony Perkins:
As part of a new Pediatrics article, three doctors claim to have found "positive mental health outcomes" for minors. That's interesting, a group of physicians is firing back, since only 2.5 percent of the children they studied actually took the drugs!
Huh!? Not to nitpick but, just for starters, it was four researchers, not three. Then there is the fact that the article in question did not find “positive health outcomes for minors.” Researchers found positive mental health outcomes for adults who took puberty blockers as children compared to those adults who did not.
Furthermore, regarding “2.5 percent of the children they studied,” they did not study children. This was a study of adults. The percentage of those adults who took puberty blockers is irrelevant. What is relevant is a comparison of the two groups.

Pediatrics is a prestigious journal with robust peer review of submissions. Peer review does not guarantee that the conclusions of a study are correct because peer reviewers do not perform independent tests. However, peer review does assure us of the scientific rigor of the methodology.

Perkins goes on:
There are plenty of other flaws in the research, Dr. Den Trumbull told me on Tuesday's "Washington Watch" … But unfortunately, in their rush to get the media and the rest of America on their side for these radical treatments, they took what Dr. Trumbull calls, "a very biased and poor[ly] design[ed] approach." And in the end, the former president of the College of American Pediatricians agrees, they "achieved the results they desired to achieve."
Perkins needs an editor. The “College of American Pediatricians” does not exist. Presumably, he is referring to the American College of Pediatricians which is a tiny Christian group out of Gainesville, FL (2018 revenues: $138 thousand). Den Trumbull, an Alabama pediatrician, does not have the training or experience to critique the study design.

It seems that Trumbull has never published research to a peer-reviewed academic journal. It is remarkable for Trumbull to claim that research was affected by bias. American College of Pediatricians is deemed an anti-LGBTQ hate grouo by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Trumbull has been claiming that the study in question proves the opposite of its conclusions. However, in various venues he has not supported his contention with any explanation. The simple fact is that Den Trumbull first reached the conclusion that Genesis must be correct which means that transgender people do not really exist.

Trumbull has then tortured logic — and science — to confirm the pre-ordained result that he likes as a conservative Christian. Were a member of Trumbull's family ill he might pray for a positive outcome but he is likely to insist on care consistent with the best medical science irrespective of how that care comports with scripture.

But gender incongruent children are not family members. He is able to offer crackpot advice because it is in the abstract. The consequences of his malevolence are emotionally isolated.

Meanwhile Perkins does his hate group leader thing:
But you don't have to be a scientist or even a doctor to be suspicious about the findings. For starters, the authors of the study are affiliated with the pro-LGBT Fenway Institute, whose whole purpose is to promote these kinds of outcomes in research. So clearly, there was already a radical agenda at work.
In Perkins-World, any clinician who accepts the medical science about gender identity or sexual orientation rather than ancient texts is “pro-LGBT.” Perkins' assertion is illogical. The Mission of Fenway Institute is “to make life healthier for those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender [people] …”

Perkins is claiming that researchers affiliated with Fenway are biased in a way that would cause them to advocate for something that is not in the best interests of the population they serve. Furthermore, “the authors” are not affiliated with Fenway Institute. Two of the four researchers are.

“Radical agenda?” That's coming from a hate group leader who thinks that science in conflict with scripture is demonic. The first of those anti-trans bills banning puberty blocker was introduced in South Dakota on January 15, 2020. The article in question was accepted by Pediatrics more than two months prior to that, on November 6, 2019. So there was no political agenda.

Den Trumbull should stick to dispensing lollipops:
Most people assume that researchers on such a controversial topic would follow the most rigorous standards for their study. "But in this situation, they have not... It's a study based on interviews," Dr. Trumbull says. "It's what's called a cross-sectional study that cannot prove causality. …”
That is why an adjusted odds ratio is included in the study. The AOR controls for unrelated variables (“predictor variables”). The AOR is a subject of peer review. The objective of sound methodology is to separate cause from correlation. And by the way, this is not a “controversial topic” for anyone other than religious fanatics.
“…it's not a longitudinal study. In other words, they didn't take a group of adolescents, follow them over 10, 15, 20 years and see the results of the therapy that they instituted in the beginning.”
When did longitudinal studies become a requirement of valid research? Moreover, we know that the adolescents who took puberty blockers transitioned on an average of 15.2 years of age and starting puberty blockers about five months later. We also know that their mental health was evaluated at a mean of 23.4 years of age (or eight years post puberty blockers). Incremental results of those ensuing eight years would be virtually meaningless.

Back to Perkins:
Instead, they're just interviewing these kids who identify as transgenders, asking them about their past, and whether they feel better about what they did or not.
Transgender is an adjective that is not subject to pluralization. The correct term is “transgender people.” They were not “asked about their past.” Their experience with puberty blockers had already been documented in the US Transgender Survey. Nor were they asked “whether they feel better.” There was no comparison between adolescent mental health and adult mental health.

Perkins does not have the first damned clue what he is talking about. He obviously has not read the paper in question. I doubt that he would understand the paper if he had read it.

The real evaluative process:
Using multivariable logistic regression, we examined associations between access to pubertal suppression and adult mental health outcomes, including multiple measures of suicidality.
So when the researchers say teenagers would be less suicidal on these drugs, they're being fundamentally dishonest. When you sit down and compare the two groups of children -- those who took the drugs and those who didn't -- there's really no difference, Dr. Trumbull argues.
Both of these men are nitwits. The research did not compare two groups of children. The research compared two groups of adults! Trumbull can argue anything he likes. If he ever provides any evidence to support his claims I will be shocked.

Again, Trumbull reached his conclusion based on his belief system which is based on faith. The paper he doesn't like is based on science which is based on evidence.

Call me a cynic but neither of these sociopaths gives a rat's ass about what is best for children. They are defending the ancient texts that they subscribe to as literal truth. Faith is one thing. These fanatics reside at the lunatic fringe.

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