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Another 'ex-gay', another easily verifiable misrepresentation

by Jeremy Hooper

We really wish the "ex-gay" community would stop twisting the words of certain scientists. But just as our hopes for world peace or a consistently funny "Saturday Night Live" premiere never seem to pan out (seriously -- that first quiz show sketch was the best you could come up with over summer break?!), those who define themselves by what they "were" rather than what they currently "are" seem to have few to no qualms about taking a researcher's words and work out of context in order to embolden their claims.

200809151108Consider this latest example. Speaking to One News Now about Ray Boltz, a Christian singer who has revealed that he's gay, "former homosexual" Greg Quinlan says the following:

"I’m absolutely shocked. I've got some of his CDs and cassette tapes –- tells you how long it's been around. When he says he's born that way, we know now for a fact that that's false. In fact, just last year in March, the director of the Human Genome Project, Dr. Francis Collins, said this: homosexuality is not hardwired. There is no gay gene. We mapped the human genome. We now know there is no genetic cause for homosexuality."

Hmm, it sounds like this Dr. Collins is totally against us, right? Sounds like some lock-solid proof our our "changeability" has been discovered, yes? Well not so fast! Here is what Francis Collins himself told Ex-Gay Watch back in May of '07 after it was discovered that NARTH (National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality) was twisting his work to more readily fit their cause:

It troubles me greatly to learn that anything I have written would cause anguish for you or others who are seeking answers to the basis of homosexuality. The words quoted by NARTH all come from the Appendix to my book “The Language of God” (pp. 260-263), but have been juxtaposed in a way that suggests a somewhat different conclusion that I intended. I would urge anyone who is concerned about the meaning to refer back to the original text.

The evidence we have at present strongly supports the proposition that there are hereditary factors in male homosexuality — the observation that an identical twin of a male homosexual has approximately a 20% likelihood of also being gay points to this conclusion, since that is 10 times the population incidence. But the fact that the answer is not 100% also suggests that other factors besides DNA must be involved. That certainly doesn’t imply, however, that those other undefined factors are inherently alterable.

Your note indicated that your real interest is in the truth. And this is about all that we really know. No one has yet identified an actual gene that contributes to the hereditary component (the reports about a gene on the X chromosome from the 1990s have not held up), but it is likely that such genes will be found in the next few years.

And it should be noted that Dr. Collins is an evangelical Christian man who does, in fact, work from a place of both science and religious belief. He does write books that unapologetically marry his faith with his work. But this God-genetics marriage, which very well could color his views to some degree, still doesn't lead him to a place of "ex-gay" support! In fact, he seems eager to disconnect himself from the oversimplified movement!

But hey, why should Mr. Quinlan care about representing Dr. Collins accurately? After all, it's only the core of millions of human existences that he's trivializing.

*The One News Now piece: Boltz shocks Christian community with homosexuality admission [ONN]
*The Ex-Gay Watch piece: Major Geneticist Francis Collins Responds to NARTH Article [XGW]

***See Mr. Quinlan expound on his lies in this ONN video: BLOG:Reaction to Ray Boltz Gay Lifestyle Choice [ONN]

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Your thoughts

Ex-gay ministries and other far-right anti-gay groups are willing to adopt and twist whatever science they can appropriate if it appears to support their conclusions, in spite of their usual hostility towards rational thought and procedure. Unfortunately, if this "gay gene" is definitively identified, then they're likely to just change their argument rather than finally shut up. And, of course, that argument will be the need to "isolate" said gene from the breeding pool. In the meantime, we need to make sure that we legally establish every person's right to same-sex lovin', regardless of the cause.

Posted by: bd | Sep 15, 2008 11:45:15 AM

EXCELLENT post! Thank you.

Posted by: Katie | Sep 15, 2008 12:25:41 PM

Hopefully BTB and EGW see this and get the word out as well.
All these fabrications and twisted research lead me to two conclusions.

(1) Certain Christians are obsessed with homosexuality as some sort of last sin campaign. They are willing to lie, cheat, and steal to stop us. They've taken a very extreme, machiavellian(ends justify the means), disturbing, and decidedly un-christ-like stance.

(2) We're on the right side of history, morality, and justice. If it's more important that homosexuality be stopped by any means necessary(even breaking every rule in the bible), then you know that these people are on the wrong path. Antipathy toward gays outshines worthier pursuits (helping the homeless and hungry, reducing the divorce rate, safety and security of all persons) and thus shows it for what it is: fervently held BIGOTRY-based beliefs. If there was something truly wrong with being gay, then they would not need to resort to lies, minsinformation, and twisting of legit research. They know they won't succeed on vague bible-verses alone, so they've fabricated "secular" reasoning. Only problem is, they're so foreign to the nature of science, with only the basic of understanding that it's quite easy and quite obvious to point out their lies and distortions.
The challenge is that when people want to hear sweet sweet lies that reinforce their bigotry, it is very hard to get them to hear the truth. It also doesn't help that the religious right, and conservative politics have been denigrating and unfairly attacking the credability of the media, science, and academia for several decades now. It's at a point now where people can be told the truth, but since it comes from the news and not the pastor: they don't believe it.

Posted by: Jason D | Sep 15, 2008 12:42:12 PM

The most definitive study to date was published June 30, 2008. THE TWIN STUDY from Sweden. Pertinent findings, which are VERY VERY statistically strong due to simplicity of test... and ALL twins in Sweden between the ages of 20 and 47 participated.


ScienceDaily (June 30, 2008) — Homosexual behaviour is largely SHAPED BY GENETICS and random environmental factors, according to findings from the world's largest study of twins.

Writing in the scientific journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm report that genetics and environmental factors (which are specific to an individual, and may include biological processes such as different hormone exposure in the womb), are important determinants of homosexual behaviour.
Dr Qazi Rahman, study co-author and a leading scientist on human sexual orientation, explains: "This study puts cold water on any concerns that we are looking for a single 'gay gene' or a single environmental variable which could be used to 'select out' homosexuality - the factors which influence sexual orientation are complex. And we are not simply talking about homosexuality here - heterosexual behaviour is also influenced by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors.

Rahman explains: "Overall, genetics accounted for around 35 per cent of the differences between men in homosexual behaviour and other individual-specific environmental factors (that is, NOT SOCIETAL ATTITUDES, FAMILY, OR PARENTING ) which are shared by twins) accounted for around 64 per cent. In other words, men become gay or straight because of different developmental pathways, not just one pathway."

Posted by: LOrion | Sep 15, 2008 3:47:07 PM

Actually a very good last point you make there, Jason. We're seeing the same thing in this election, I am afraid. Most of our sources of objective information have been debased, both by liars who don't want to hear the truth and, unfortunately, by those sources themselves...witness the rampant tabloidism of the news. I used to get riled up at the thought of all this willful ignorance, but now we're seeing these debauched people in the anti-gay industry disseminating bald-faced lies. They've gotten away with it for generations but truth wins out, so they say.

Posted by: Sykler | Sep 15, 2008 4:18:55 PM

Greg Quinlan has been reported to screech about homosex so loudly at "ex-gay" events, that he made himself hoarse.

And then they have the nerve to say "I've left the gay lifestyle", when strictly obsessing over homosex is their bread and butter.

When you take the "men boinking men" conversation away from them, they're reduced to sub-human, because they know nothing else.

Posted by: Scott | Sep 15, 2008 5:01:20 PM

I've written my own entry on the ONN article, disecting their choice of language... http://moronality.blogspot.com/2008/09/language-has-power.html

Posted by: Suricou Raven | Sep 17, 2008 4:26:59 AM

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