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10/03/2008

The Quinlan quote: One apology down, one more to go

by Jeremy Hooper

So we don't want to go through a lengthy rehash of the following facts, since we already did that earlier this week. But basically, here's a timeline:

-A few weeks back, we found "ex-gay" Greg Quinlan to be misrepresenting a quote from a noted geneticist in a way that made it sound as if homosexuality is, definitively, "not hardwired"

-We emailed Quinlan, presenting him with an actual quote that geneticist, Dr. Francis Collins, had once given the Ex Gay Watch (XGW) site. A quote that completely belies Quinlan's own supposed quote.

-Quinlan responded to us by accusing XGW of making up their quote

-We brought XGW into the mix. XGW responded by getting YET ANOTHER quote from Dr. Collins

-Quinlan put up a cone of silence, not replying to any further emails from either this site or from XGW

-Then last week, another conservative writer, Southern Baptist Convention and Exodus International personality Bob Stith, was found to be using the exact same fallacious quote as Quinlan

-Quinlan is still remaining silent about the duplicitous chain he seems to have set in motion (the quote he used was not in Google before he put it there). And neither he, his organization (The NJ Family Policy Council), nor the news site that ran his initial quote (One News Now, in both print and video form), have acknowledge any of the controversy, or what Dr. Collins has put on the record.

Well guess what? We do have one happy/shocking development to report. The socially conservative man who seems to  Good As You Images 200809290823have also (and, arguably, most consequentially) been duped by Quinlan's fallacious work, Bob Stith, has apologized for accepting Quinlan's quote at face value and repurposing it in his own piece. In a message to XGW, Stith says, in part:

I’m not sure how my actual quote came out the way it did.

At any rate it is clearly not the quote from Dr. Collins book and for that I do apologize.

My understanding of what Dr. Collins said was based on the two quotes above. I tried to find his book while I was away but the one bookstore I looked in didn’t have a copy.

I have always said that I do believe there is something to biological predisposition. However I do not believe that is the same as predetermination.

Having said that, I still should not have altered the quote and honestly can’t understand why I did except for the old canard of tight deadlines and an impending trip.

FULL STORY: Southern Baptist’s Bob Stith Apologizes for Erroneous Collins Quote [XGW]

So there ya have it. Mr. Stith has admitted that he has no verification for the quote. Most likely, either he or a fellow researcher stumbled on it in Google (where, again, it was first placed by Quinlan himself), and accepted it at face value. A point which only highlights why we do what we do, as there are countless other people who would also be duped by the Quinlan quip if it were left unchecked. And it also highlights why accuracy is SO IMPORTANT in this digital age, where even the spread of wildfire is snail-paced compared to the rapid way in which online data is transferred

XGW has written Quinlan (and other players) with this new information. Stay tuned.

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Your thoughts

My take on Stith is that he's an honest man.

While he and I differ strongly on theology, I think Stith is looking for a way to bring his faith and reality into a consistent position and is not just trying to deny science and study.

Posted by: Timothy | Oct 3, 2008 3:12:05 PM

Has the Southern Baptist Press printed a retraction? Or have they agreed to print a retraction in their next issue? Apologizing is one thing, but a failure to retract the false statement (in writing and in the publication where it was made) is tantamount to continuing to promulgate the same lie. Additionally, failing to disclose the original author of the fraudulent quote is tacitly condoning the fraud as well.

If Stith truly can't remember where he dug up that quote, then maybe he should choose a métier where poorly substantiated claims are more permissible. Oh... wait... he's a baptist - substantiation-skills are probably the least beneficial traits to mention on those résumés.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Oct 3, 2008 11:11:06 PM

On October 8, Baptist Press reworded its article without admitting its ten-day deception nor, apparently, correcting the syndicated copies of the original article which were circulated around the Internet by the religious-right echo chamber.

Posted by: Mike A / Truth Wins Out | Oct 10, 2008 2:11:54 AM

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