Comments: Jesus' Family Values - Seminar

Good on Ekklesia.

Just to show they are not the only ones evolving, this week's Out In Scripture is also looking at the question of patriarchy and family structures.
http://hrc.org/scripture/week.asp

I particularly liked this passage "The setting of the book of Proverbs is the patriarchal family in which the father instructs the son, passing on the wisdom of the sages encapsulated in the form of proverbs. Hochma represents wisdom, which has broken loose from this traditional setting of court and family. Instead she can be found in public spaces such as the street and the city gates. Her knowledge is relational, not based on the memorization of a fixed body of knowledge."

It pretty well sums up my perspective of the problem of arrogant complacent scribes who dismiss or insult prophets.

Out in Scipture's bible studies come out in email format each week and are free. Their perspectives on the gospel are often enlightening.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Tuesday, 29 May 2007 at 11:25pm BST

Good stuff! Jesus's family values were certainly not those of his own society, nor of ours, nor of the Moral Majority.

Mind you, anyone who takes this to mean that Jesus was pro abortion, pro homosexual practice, pro divorce etc has not an iota of evidence on their side, and plenty against. Talk about making in one's own image.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Thursday, 31 May 2007 at 1:05pm BST

"Mind you, anyone who takes this to mean that Jesus was pro abortion, pro homosexual practice, pro divorce etc has not an iota of evidence on their side, and plenty against."

Not, as far as I'm aware, what is being said. The point is frequently made that both He and Paul, presumably on His inspiration, didn't think much of marriage one way or the other. For Paul, it's clearly a sop to the poor striaghts who can't keep it in their pants, Jesus's Gospel statements on the topic seem to revolve around respecting one's spouse, ie no adultery, that sort of thing, but even adulterers, unrepentant ones at that, can be ministers of the Gospel. He clearly didn't think of it at all in the way the current Anglican Right want us to afffirm, and where you got the idea that some think He was pro-abortion, divorce, and homosexuality is beyond me, please explain. To say He didn't think highly of it is hardly to say He supported it's opposites, and what does His position on marriage have to do with abortion?

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 1 June 2007 at 10:44pm BST

Hi Ford-
I didnt say that this particular individual Deirdre Good had any such views. My point is simply this: I have come across people who make the point that Jesus's family values were not ours, and each one of them is motivated by a desire to oppose the position of the American religious right. That is why they are selective about what they say and what they do not say.

Posted by Chirstopher Shell at Saturday, 2 June 2007 at 1:54pm BST

Christopher,
I didn't imply that you did, merely that I have heard, well, no-one, say what you claimed was being said. Now, maybe a few nutters in your experience, but they no more represent the majority than the Rev. Falwell did, surely. And, you aren't allying yourself with the "American religious right", are you? Falwell and that bunch?

Posted by Ford Elms at Saturday, 2 June 2007 at 10:26pm BST

Christopher,
are you saying that those of us who will allow abortion in some circumstances, don't have a problem with homosexuality, and know that divorce can sometimes be for the good, misquote Jesus as an ally?
If so, I think you still misunderstand how we (I)read Scripture.

You forget the Spirit and the discernment of the Church as a whole in this.

Thomas doesn't like the way I mention "sola scrpitura", and I suppose in a strictly theological fashion he is right.

But the fact remains - If Christianity were limited to what people (however important), wrote 2000 year ago, without taking account of modern science and psychology, it just would not be relevant today.

I happen to believe that Jesus brought us a truth that is understandable, liveable and meaningful throughout all ages. So I would never use "the bible says" as a circular argument, but would always try to discern what that can possibly mean for me today.

And before you ask me for names of theologians who support this view.... scroll through the archives!

Posted by Erika Baker at Sunday, 3 June 2007 at 10:57pm BST

Hi Erika
Yes, that is what I am saying, and is a fair summary of the position that, wso far as we can tell, was taken by the Jesus of the gospels.

Your implication that this was not Jesus's position on abortion, homosexuality and divorce astounds me. What positive evidence can you cite? What evidence there is, is against you (and on divorce there is a lot). For the rest, there is no reason at all to doubt that he held the mainstream Jewish position, particularly in view of his love of children.

Is there any evidence in favour of your position?

I have never once asked for the names of *theologians* who support a position. I think that theology can sometimes be a pseudo-science, able to be used to back up existing/preferred ideologies.

What I have often asked for is the names of *New Testament specialists* who will support a given position.

Hi Ford-
Falwell and that bunch? First of all, there is no 'bunch'. They are all individuals with individual views. Lumping them all together is the classic ploy (or, simply, the normal practice) of the bully and of the one with a little knowledge.

If their opponents started treating issues like abortion with the seriousness they deserved, one might start having more sympathy with them. This was precisely where Falwell was so right.

For the rest, I will agree with a given evo/fundie on some things, disagree on others, and be in between on others.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Tuesday, 5 June 2007 at 2:02pm BST

Erika
You have a great faith in modern psychology, which in some cases may be fair enough.

Never once have I used 'the Bible says' as an appeal to authority. Nor would I, since it is a circular argument. If anything is true, it was also already true *before* the bible said it. So the bible didnt make it any more or less true.

However, many of our discussions have been about what the bible does actually say. That is also an important question.

(a) 'What does the Bible say?' [assuming it says just one thing, which it doesn't always] and (b) 'Is the Bible correct to say it?' are two quite separate questions. Do you understand now?

That is why I so much more approve those who say Paul was wrong than those who say Paul was misinterpreted, which in ever case seems to back up their already-existing preferred view. The second option is often dishonest and untruthful, especially as it often turns out that the people have no basis for any skill in exegesis in the first place. They are just saying what they *want* to be true. What I have been wanting for years is for someone to tell me how that approach can possibly be honest or indeed Christian.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Tuesday, 5 June 2007 at 2:09pm BST

Christopher,
so you didn't ask for "theologians" but for "New Testament Specialists". If I remember correctly, you may even only have asked for "names" to back my views up, but I haven't got the time to verify that now.
Look, if you were seriously interested you would have done that research for yourself by now. I get the feeling that your questions reflect hidden accusations rather than genuine interest.

As for what the bible actually does say ....yes, but the question is almost irrelevant unless we agree on the relative importance of Scrpiture in God's revelation of Himself. Do you understand that now?

As for what Jesus would have said about abortion -I haven't a clue. The Bible remains silent on that particular issue.
The RC church has come to the painful conclusion that if the life of either the mother or the child has to be sacrificed, it is the child that has to be saved.
I do not share that conclusion - although, no, I cannot immediately provide eminent New Testament Scholars to back it up.

But, please, Christopher - stop pretending that all these moral issues are simple and obvious!

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 5 June 2007 at 3:51pm BST

"First of all, there is no 'bunch'"

Yes, there is, and they have a "prayer breakfast" with George Bush frequently, weekly if I'm not mistaken.

"Lumping them all together is the classic ploy"
and used very regularly by the "reasserters" to foster the persecution myth I have spoken of so often. It is indeed they who identified the so-called split and labelled the parties supposedly involved, lumping all "liberals" together as believing the same things, when in fact it is only a small minority of the far left that state such beliefs. Really, Christopher, this is all a bit much, accusing others of the very sins committed by those you support! While I try to stay away from it, and while I refuse to feel emperilled by some conservative cabal, it is not because I do not believe there is evidence for one, but because I do not believe God will let it prosper for ever.
As to abortion, I believe that life begins at conception. I believe that scholars have argued for centuries when human life begins. The Church has stated abortion is ok if the mother's life is endangered. Where is the debate in which "their opponents" need to give abortion more weight? I had thought the argument long over.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 5 June 2007 at 5:05pm BST

Hi Ford-

Yes of course - where else could life begin? But there are people with the title of Christian leaders (Abp Habgood, Lord Harries - is he a Lord? - Richard Holloway) who seem to manifest a lack of conscience and compassion on this one. Or - roughly translated - their policies will lead to a lot of precious babies never having the chance to be born.

Hi Erika-

Moral issues range from very obvious to very complex. To my mind there are a lot that are very complex. But how does that stop the very obvious ones being very obvious? If male active homosexuals live 20 years less on average than married men, then the decision about which is the healthier lifestyle is scarcely difficult, nor the decision about whether to classify the former as 'unhealthy' given that the average is even less than for unhealthy smokers. Even if the differential were 3-5 years that would be highly significant. With 20 years how can there be an argument?

Clearly the point about NT scholars is crucial. It is neither here nor there what nonspecialists say. The crux is: what do the specialists say? It is not as though we are going to listen to the nonspecialists. For example: would you listen to my views on car mechanics? I hope not.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Wednesday, 6 June 2007 at 1:23pm BST

"If male active homosexuals live 20 years less on average than married men, then the decision about which is the healthier lifestyle is scarcely difficult"

Please!!! You know as well as I do that this is about condoms and not about morally healthier lifestyles. Or are you saying these people are being struck down by God because he disapproves of their loves?

As for your view on car mechanics - if it was a little bit more logical than the previous point you made, I might consider that you had read enough car mechanic magazines and listened to enough actual mechanics to have a working knowledge of cars. And, yes, of course I would listen to you.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 6 June 2007 at 2:43pm BST

"where else could life begin?"

Birth. Judaism, I think, believes this. At some point during the 9 months of gestation, cf.Psalm 139:15-16, which hints this might be the case, cf. medieval ideas of progressive ensoulment, or those who felt life began at quickening. Lots of different ideas as to when, so not so clear.

"male active homosexuals live 20 years less on average than married men,"

You've made this claim before, and, after much cajoling, gave a reference. I have been unable to find this journal in our local medical library, and have since lost the reference, so if you'd repost, I'd be much obliged. I'm afraid I need more than this bare claim. How was the study structured? How were "male active homosexuals" identified? Was the sample controlled for age, other lifestyle indicators, safer sex practices, etc.? How were the sample groups put together? There are just too many unanswered questions to claim that one article in one journal of epidemiology can be used to make any such statement as you are making. Also, has this finding been reproduced? As you know, an irreproducable result is no result at all.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 6 June 2007 at 4:34pm BST

Ford-
The info is easily available by googling - but that is not the point. The point is that I am surprised that you are surprised by this data since the scientific studies all tend to point the same way, so that there is nothing unexpected or controversial about such a finding.

Hi Erika-
But you would be wrong to listen. I know nothing at all about car mechanics. And likewise, there are many people who claim to have opinions on NT exegesis who are not equipped to have an opinion of any sort on this.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Thursday, 7 June 2007 at 1:25pm BST

"the scientific studies"

We've been here before. Last time you mentioned "scientific studies" it took weeks to get even one reference from you. I have Googled, and gotten a lot of obviously biased stuff a la Gagnon, but little that is reliable. You're going to have to do better than references to "studies" that you do not cite. This sort of thing makes it look like an attempt to give a scientific veneer to something not terribly supportable. If the evidence is there, produce it, please. Does the article, for instance, give any reasons why we are supposedly dying so much younger? When was is done? There is, after all, an infectious disease that takes years to kill people and has been prevalent in the gay community. Death from this disease is NOT a result of homosexuality, as you well know, but from unsafe sex practices. There was an article published a few years ago in a Psychiatry journal that claimed that conservative religious and political belief was a form of psychopathology. There are currently articles claiming that religious belief is nothing more than a product of the way our brains are wired, an internal delusion. "Studies" can show a lot of things, Christopher, so don't go flinging around statements like this without backup. It makes you appear dishonest, and I don't think you are.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 7 June 2007 at 3:35pm BST

Christopher,
the problem is that Jesus did not mean faith to be left to the experts.
You see, if you had a working knowledge of car mechanics after some comprehensive private study of the subject, I would certainly listen to you.
If you tell me you don't know anything about the subject, then of course there's no point asking your opinion.

But in matters of faith, we can all read the bible, we can all read what the experts have to say, and we can all listen to what our church and our priests say. With that, and prayerful conversation with God, we can indeed claim to have a working knowledge of what our faith is all about.
That we all stand to be corrected goes without saying. But that is true for the experts too.

Or are you saying that the RC position, where the Pope is given unique insight that others don't have, is right for the AC too?

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 7 June 2007 at 4:00pm BST

A Google search today turned up this, by the Family Research Institute:

http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/26/3/657

A link to "similar studies" on Pubmed, the major medical journal search tool, is to studies having to do with life expectancy in HIV.
Tell me this isn't your "scientific study". When we last discussed this, you claimed you weren't citing Gagnon. No indeed. But Gagnon clearly isn't the only one doing what he is doing.

They state:

"The main outcome measures of interest were age-specific patterns of death, life expectancy and life expectancy lost due to HIV/AIDS at exact age 20 years, and the probability of living from age 20 to 65 years."

So, according to the abstract, admittedly not clearly written, they are saying that people with HIV will not live as long as those who don't have it. Gee. What a surprise. But this is no basis for saying gay people have a shorter lifespan. You make appeals to science. If this is the "science" to which you appeal, I shall consider any further citations of "studies" from you to be meaningless. From what I read in the abstract, this appears little more than propaganda. If you are unable to read a scientific article critically, you ought not to cite them. Just because something is published, even in a peer reviewed journal, doesn't mean it's findings are valid. The scientific method requires more than publication before findings are accepted as fact.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 7 June 2007 at 4:22pm BST

Hi Ford-
I am no expert. The articles known to me are two: one which gives an 8-20 figure for Canada (International Journal of Epidemiology 1997) - this was the one cited before.
The other (EPA_2007_Homo_Footprint.032107.pdf - check with me if this is not correct) focusses specifically on comparison of the married (who obviously live especially long) with those in homosexual 'partnerships'.
All you need to do, as I said earlier, is give other scientific studies that give a significantly different picture from a wider sample. If you do, I will tentatively (pending further propgressive enlightenment) go with that. If not, we are both obliged to treat the largest scientific studies as the best available information. There are other ways of obtaining information, but this is (tho perhaps far from perfect) the best available.

On Ps 137 you upset me. It speaks of being fearfully and wonderfully made - something which is more literally true than the psalmist could possibly have known. I dont know which of the human cell and the Taj Mahal is more intricate but it must be a close-run thing. It speaks of 'which day by day were fashioned' - ie a progressive process. From the way you talk treating birth and conception and something in the interim as the start of 'life' (tho obviously not of 'existence' which can only begin at conception) are more or less equal options. Aren't you at all glad that those responsible for your in vitro period took a different view? Cos I am.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Friday, 8 June 2007 at 2:16pm BST

"we are both obliged to treat the largest scientific studies as the best available information."
No, we are obliged to treat as the best available information those studies conducted with appropriate scientific rigor. This is not one of those studies. All kinds of studies of doubtful significance get published all the time. I need give no studies to refute one poorly done in the first place, I need merely show that it is not done in a proper scientific fashion, and thus its findings are not trustworthy. I believe I have done so. The other link doesn't work. If you can't critique a scientific article, then please refrain from quoting spurious articles that give a false scientific veneer to what is, essentially, your own opinion. You do not cover yourself in glory quoting things like this, it makes you look bad and casts doubt on other things you say.

"Aren't you at all glad that those responsible for your in vitro period took a different view?"
Please! I'm quite glad my parents wanted a child, and felt ready to have me. They gave me a lovely home. I might be of a different mind if my mother only had me because she was forced to by a bunch of people who, for all their piety, were really just trying to control that little tart who went and got herself pregnant and then didn't support her while she struggled to bring me up on minimum wage and was so desperate for affection she took up with a string of abusive boyfriends who sexually abused me. FWIW, I believe life begins at conception as well, but yeah, that it begins at birth is an equal assertion. What of it? And why does your question saeem to imply that married women off-handedly abort their children all the time?

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 8 June 2007 at 4:36pm BST

Hi Erika-

Your position is untenable, but let me explain why.

On spiritual/experiential matters, I agree that everyone can speak about their own spiritual experience, and should certainly have the right to do so.

But not everything connected with Jesus is a spiritual issue. There are historical issues. There are theological issues. There are sociological issues. There are even (believe it or not) statistical issues regarding how often a given word appears in the different gospels. And so on. On all of these the experts are considerably more worth listening to than the average person in the street.

In other words, there are various technical issues in the study of the Bible. From what you say, the opinion of someone who knows no Hebrew/Greek concerning the precise meaning of a particular Hebrew/Greek word is just as valid as that of a professor of the subject. But nobody believes that, surely.

On your premises, again, everyone has an equal right to give an opinion on which order the four gospels were written in, and all of their opinions are equally valid. Which is obviously 'bunkum'....(!)

The general point you make about Jesus being equally available to all, wise and simple, is absolutely correct. In fact I agree with Jesus (Luke 10) that he is more easily accessed by the simple (and by the children) than by the clever. All of that has nothing to do with the various technical issues surrounding Jesus, for which we need to seek the opinion of the experts.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Friday, 8 June 2007 at 6:18pm BST

"for which we need to seek the opinion of the experts."

Ah, but Christopher, which experts? For many of us, there are experts whose opinions others discount because they are merely "the traditions of men". Indeed, we need to be careful who we identify as "expert". You, for instance, feel you have identified 'expertise' in a scientific study that is dodgy to say the least, and doesn't deserve your trust. Would you consult with John Spong for his "expertise"? Neither would I. Why not?

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 8 June 2007 at 7:13pm BST

Christopher,
it's like in every other walk of life - we have to chose our experts and then trust them. But that means we have to acquire sufficient knowldge ourselves to base our judgement on.

Our whole complex democracy is based on the principle that experts make their views available, we assess them with all our skills, and then support one side over the other.

In that respect, faith is no different. You feel persuaded by evangelical scholars, I don't. You and I both make our decisions based on a variety of reasons, but a working knowledge of theology is probably part of it.

It's important to be clear about this, because "he told me to believe this/do this" is not going to be a good answer to how we've lived our lives.

I've enjoyed this conversation, thank you. Sorry I can't continue it, I'll be offline for the next 2 weeks.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 8 June 2007 at 9:00pm BST

Hi Erika-
Eh? Which 'evangelical scholars'? I have not mentioned any evangelical scholars. I was speaking of my *broad* agreement with all known qualified and recognised New Testament specialists on the range of options available (and excluded) for interpreting Rom 1 and 1 Cor 6.
I agree strongly with your rejection of didactic 'authority'. 'So-and-so said XYZ' does not make XYZ true. However, the expert will always know better than you and I, unless we are among the experts ourselves.

Hi Ford-
You have suffered awfully, for which you deserve a lot of sympathy.
On your other points: one is constrained to listen to experts for lack of a better alternative. In order to do so informedly one must oneself be a semi-expert (as Erika says). One must then sift the data. Is there anything like a consensus of experts? Is there a majority view and/or a fastest-growing view (for reasons other than fashionability)?

Posted by Christopher Shell at Saturday, 9 June 2007 at 12:14pm BST

"You have suffered awfully"

No I haven't. I know people who have, but I'm not one of them. I apologize if I presented my hypothetical example as though it were somehow my experience. I guess I assumed my first statements about my happy home life and the statement that I MIGHT feel differently IF my mother had been in such a situation made that clear. It obviously didn't. Sorry if I led you astray.

"for which you deserve a lot of sympathy"

No I don't.

"one must oneself be a semi-expert (as Erika says). One must then sift the data. "

I'm a trained physician. Part of my training was in the critical reading of scientific articles. The one you cited cannot stand up to scientific scrutiny. The point is that you are not sifting the data. You are accepting a study that is poorly structured and makes claims it is not designed to make and that would not seem from the abstract to even be logical. You make references to "scientific studies" and this is what you come up with! I am reluctant to impugn your education, yet it would seem you don't know how to critically assess a scientific study. The only other option here would be to impugn your honesty, which I am even more reluctant to do. A far greater concern for me is that our leaders may be reading this kind of thing and using it in their deliberations. I already know they read Gagnon in the run up to Lambeth '98. If this is the "reason" copmponent of their decision making, then we are all in big trouble. It is one thing for them to opione theologically on an issue, it is quite another for them to use flawed "science" in their deliberations.

Posted by Ford Elms at Sunday, 10 June 2007 at 12:20pm BST

Christopher,
Sorry to be posting fast and furious here. I found a link to something called

Federal Distortion of Homosexual Footprint(Ignoring Early Gay Death).

Is this the other piece you were referring to?

Posted by Ford Elms at Sunday, 10 June 2007 at 2:08pm BST

Hi Ford
Yes, I think so. The headline is justified. The fact of early gay death is a mountain; the fact that advocates never refer to it shows spin and a deliberate lack of balance IMHO.

After all, even if the figures were wrong, they could at least refer to the correct ones. But they never refer to figures of any kind. And then (it gets worse) they claim to have made up their minds on the issue in advance of consulting any figures.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Monday, 11 June 2007 at 11:34am BST

Christopher,
So now I'm confused. You have referred repeatedly to "scientific" evidence for what you claim, yet here the only two studies you cite are seriously flawed: one poorly constructed, and another by the chair of the Family Research Institute, an organization you earlier this winter denied referencing! This makes me doubt you, actually. A Google search of his name will turn up many sites dealing with the rejection of his work. He is not in any way reliable. This is not science!

The things you have cited are not reliable. The chilling thing is that you cite them as justification for your beliefs. These things are not evidence of anything, Christopher. I accept a layman might not be able to critically assess this kind of work, but please, stop saying these things as though they are fact. They are inflammatory, untrue, and, frankly, dangerous. I accept your understanding of Scripture. I will not accept your use of what is essentially propaganda as "scientific" justification for your beliefs. If you are not doing it deliberately, if you truly believe that these things are in any way scientific, then you are mistaken. I now understand why "liberals" of my acquaintance in the US are so suspicious of science in this issue.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 11 June 2007 at 1:06pm BST

Christopher,
PubMed is the search engine used for searching the medical literature. It is the one we use here pretty much exclusively. If it is in the medical literature, it is on PunMed. I did a search with 'homosexual life expectancy'. It turned up 21 articles, hardly a "mountain" when you consider that a search for, say, squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue wiill turn up hundreds, if not thousands. Only the first of the two articles you cited was there. Everything else had to do with HIV or certain cancers, with the exception of this:
J Consult Clin Psychol. 1997 Aug;65(4):542-6

Which seems to indicate that fatalism predisposes gay men to unsafe sexual behaviour, and that gay men who do not feel their lives threatened are more likely to be in monogamous relationships, and to practice safe sex even if they are not. Bluntly, it suggests that your repeated quoting of Cameron et al actually is something fo a self-fulfilling prophecy. Granted I have only the abstract which this time does not allow comment on study structure, and the study is 10 years old, but it still serves as a counter to what you have been saying, and surely just as valid, given the problems with the material you cite. Cameron doesn't show up at all, not surprising since, from what I can gather, he is discredited and only gets published in obscure, not to say dodgy, journals.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 11 June 2007 at 4:38pm BST

I did a PubMed search of Paul Cameron. It turned up 21 articles, all but one of which were published in a journal called Psychology Reports, spoken of in this from the Boston Globe:

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2005/07/31/beliefs_drive_research_agenda_of_new_think_tanks/?page=full

I can speak of one occasion when the Globe published a report from a freelancer that was fictitious and ended up publishing a retraction, but this, combined with everything else I find on the web tells me Cameron is not to be believed. Sorry, Christopher, your "science" is appearing more and more like propaganda all the time. Frankly, if you cite Cameron, you have no business accusing others of "spin and a deliberate lack of balance".

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 11 June 2007 at 6:16pm BST

We are not talking about what *not* to believe (which is only deferring facing the real issue), we are talking about what *to* believe.

On each topic the best we can do is follow the *most* scientific stats and data that is currently available. As I have repeatedly said, as soon as preferable studies (broader-based, more rigorous) become available, one follows them instead. And so on.

Poking holes in one study does not help us find what the true stats/data are. (Not that any of us would know, not having conducted the studies: that is why we have to defer to those who have conducted the studies and spent months and years refining them.)

Wherever one suspects that data are incorrect, one remains less authoritative on that topic than the persons who actually collected and analysed the data.

As for claiming to know in which direction the stats need to be revised, that is even less likely. On average, they are just as likely to be revised in one unwelcome direction as they are to be revised in another unwelcome direction.

All that anyone needs to do is point us to the most reliable available stats on the topic of gay life-expectancy. I have heard the answer 'there are none'. This is shirking the issue. There are always going to be studies, and of these studies some will be more large-scale and more scientific than others. So all we need to do is go with the most scientific and large-scale unless and until these are superseded.

If that mantle does not fall to International Journal of Epidemiology 1997 (8-20 years) then all you need to do is cite another study which is wider and more scientific. It is (tut tut) your lack of citation of anything at all that troubles me. :o(

Posted by Christopher Shell at Tuesday, 12 June 2007 at 12:27pm BST

"We are not talking about what *not* to believe"

Yes we are. Propaganda is not to be believed. Faulty "science" is not to be believed, and certainly not quoted in an argument that slanders a whole group of people.

"*most* scientific stats"

No such thing. You cite one study in which the flaws render it useless. Cameron is propaganda, and not "scientific stats" in any way. To say that until someone does a rigourous scientific study, I will continue to believe propaganda and lies just because they are made to look like science is a poor argument. You seem to be saying we must come up with the truth before we should stop believing the lie.

"one remains less authoritative on that topic than the persons who actually collected and analysed the data."

No, if those who collected and analysed the data did not gather good data and did not analyse it correctly, then they are not authoritative at all.

This is one of the reasons cited for Cameron's being dropped from the APA: the risk that uneducated laymen might misunderstand that what he is doing is not science. I can appreciate that you have not had a scientific education, we cannot be trained in everything. I, however, did have such an education, and I can tell you that the acceptance of untruth until truth comes along is not scientific.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 12 June 2007 at 5:26pm BST

Answer the question man!! :o)
(1) What think ye of the International Journal of Epidemiology findings?
(2) We still have to use the most scientific study hitherto as our default position. What is that study and where is it to be found?

Posted by Christopher Shell at Wednesday, 13 June 2007 at 2:01pm BST

1. Asked and answered. Numerous times. It is a poorly constructed study, thus I think poorly of it.
2. Cameron's work has been compared to the antisemitic propaganda of the Nazis. It is beneath either of u s to give it credence.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 11:24pm BST

Oops! Editing error. Neither of these is "the most scientific study hitherto". I searched Pubmed, and found nothing other than Cameron on gay lifespan. Reputable work may thus not have been done. That does not mean we have to accept propaganda, however. I have to question your motives in pursuing this line of argument. Your "scientific evidence" is neither scientific, nor evidence. Until you can come up with some real science in this, I will not engage you further. I refuse to debate the merits of propaganda. I even question your ability to critically read a scientific paper.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 11:33pm BST
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