Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tony Perkins Agrees With Me About Sexual Orientation Change

I've argued here before that all ex-gay ministries really change is behavior and identification, not a person's core sexual orientation. Well now Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council, has himself said the same thing. In the Washington Update feature over at Perkins says the following (emphasis mine):
Journalists' "fact-checking" services can be just as prone to bias and factual error as the politicians they're checking. PolitiFact analyzed former Gov. Tim Pawlenty's recent statements on the origins of homosexuality. Meet the Press host David Gregory had asked: "Is being gay a choice?" Pawlenty began his response by saying, "Well, the science in that regard is in dispute." PolitiFact rated that lone sentence as "false." But the "choice" question is meaningless unless you also define what you mean by "gay." Same-sex attraction is not a choice, but homosexual conduct and homosexual self-identification are choices. Pawlenty ignored the silly "choice" question and answered the more relevant one--what causes homosexuality?--accurately. He went on to say, "There's no scientific conclusion that [homosexuality is] genetic." PolitiFact rated this statement "mostly true"--but grudgingly. 
Most of their "analysis" was devoted to explaining that if Pawlenty had said it's not "biological" (rather than "genetic") it would have been false. They quote the American Psychological Association's research on "possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social and cultural influences" and concede, "no findings . . . permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation . . . is determined by any particular factor." Pawlenty is right. And PolitiFact's contradictory conclusion that "scientists do believe that sexual orientation is caused by biology" is wrong.
Of course Perkins' claim that scientists do not believe that sexual orientation is caused by biology is patently false. It is true that the scientific community is still unsure as to exactly which factors cause homosexuality (much as they are still unsure about what factors cause left-handedness) and to what extent those various factors effect sexual orientation relative to one another. But there is little disagreement over the fact that biological factors do indeed play a significant role. Studies of fraternal birth order, gay twins and brain structure have all indicated the significant likelihood of strong biological factors in the development of homosexuality. Of course Perkins et. al. won't be admitting that any time soon...

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