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09/29/2008

'Ex-gays' still speaking for Collins, still ignoring Collins' own words

by Jeremy Hooper

If you've read this site over the past month, you might remember how we called out professional "ex-gay" Greg Quinlan for presenting noted geneticist Dr. Francis Collins in a way that made it sound as if the man of science had definitively declared there to be "no genetic cause for 200809290822-1homosexuality." You might also remember that we didn't refute Quinlan on a mere anecdotal level, but rather by pointing to some quotes Dr. Collins had given to the Ex Gay Watch site, in which he spoke out against the way the "ex-gay" side [led by the NARTH (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) organization] has been distorting his work. And you might remember that after we emailed Mr. Quinlan about the situation and reminded him of Dr. Collins' apparent discomfort, Quinlan replied by making the brazen accusation that ExGay Watch had simply made up Collins' response. But mostly you might remember that it was really annoying, both the misrepresentative situation and Quinlan's refusal to address the actual matter at hand.

Well if you do remember all that, then great. If you don't remember and genuinely care to get yourself in the know, you can check out the 200809290823backlinks and fill yourself in. But either way, we're going to fast forward a week and look at the way yet another social conservative, this time Southern Baptist Convention and Exodus International personality Bob Stith, has put the EXACT SAME quote in Dr Collins' mouth as Quinlan previous had. In a Baptist Press column, Stith says the following:

For example, in 2003, the International Human Genome Consortium announced the successful completion of the Human Genome Project, which, among other things, identified each of the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA. The press release read: "The human genome is complete and the Human Genome Project is over."

While this accomplishment was widely reported, almost no one reported the words of Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the project. Collins, arguably the nation's most influential geneticist, said, "Homosexuality is not hardwired. There is no gay gene. We mapped the human genome. We now know there is no genetic cause for homosexuality."

Alright, so the whole "Homosexuality is not hardwired. There is no gay gene. We mapped the human genome. We now know there is no genetic cause for homosexuality" quote is the one to which we're specifically referring. This is the exact same quote that Quinlan recently put in Collins' mouth, even though there is ZERO evidence that Collins ever said this. The quote has become a social conservative meme, despite the 200809290824fact that it cannot at all be verified. And not only can it not be verified, but Dr. Collins has specifically spoken out against the way his work is being used by these professional "ex-gay" proponents (with words that belie the "no genetic cause" quote both Quinlan and Stith put on his tongue). In fact Dr. Collins has spoken out TWICE, with the second instance focused on Quinlan in particular!!

So now we have a two-fold misrepresentation. Collins was already uncomfortable with the way NARTH, the impetus of all this misrepping, presented his work back in 2007. But rather than acknowledging what THE SCIENTIST HIMSELF IS SAYING, the "pro-family" crowd has gone further with the truth-stretching by taking NARTH's original work, forming this one quote from it, and propagating it amongst their ranks. That's not the loving, "pro-family," Christian thing to do -- it's the sort of disingenuous, "pro-myopia," irresponsible thing that we should all be trying to avoid!

Bob Stith's commentary [BP News]

***UPDATE: Stith has now apologized!!!! [XGW]

**EARLIER: Our exchange with Quinlan: 'Ex-gay' accuses our friend of untruth, further verifies his own [G-A-Y]
The post that led to our Quinlan exchange: Another 'ex-gay', another easily verifiable misrepresentation [G-A-Y]

**SEE ALSO: Mike Airhart has more background and insight over at the TWO blog: Exodus Speaker Joins Trail of Lies over Human Genome Project [TWO]

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