Comments: Opinion - 8 October 2016

Re James Harper on Ian Paul, The New Atlantis
(article by Lawrence S Mayer and Paul R McHugh) is not a peer reviewed journal.It is,however, good propagandist reading for anti-equality voices. The article is largely a review, and a methodologically problematic one, of previous studies. It offers no information that contradicts the notion that homosexuality and heterosexuality are permutations of common vectors.

Paul's use of the article merely keeps it in the domain of cultural warriors--where it belongs.

The article linked below, one of many on the subject of Mayer McHugh's opinion, is as a good a critique as any.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Saturday, 8 October 2016 at 1:55pm BST

The New Atlantis is published by The Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) a conservative think tank and advocacy group which describes itself as "dedicated to applying the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy." No bias there then.

There was a letter in the Church Times last week taking task with Ian Paul for his interpretation of another review of sexual orientation science (this time the review had appeared in a proper science journal). As a science graduate, I would say that Dr Paul's conclusion was, to say the least, idiosyncratic.

I'm not sure why conservatives want to stray into the territory of science. Often they don't seem to really understand how it works, and surely the plain meaning of the Bible is all the evidence they need?

Posted by Fr Andrew at Saturday, 8 October 2016 at 2:58pm BST

Fr. Andrew; it seems to me that such people are keen to deny a natural basis to same-sexuality is due to their twin reliance on a "natural law" ethic and a narrow (and uncontextual) reading of Romans 1. On both counts, they ironically come close to "worshiping the creature (nature) rather than the Creator" -- the primary fault (per Romans 1) that leads away from God. That is, the Apostle's thesis is that those who worship nature eventually come to betray their "god" -- just as the Israelites, who knew better, also failed and were untrue to their own true God. (The danger of taking Romans 1 on its own is that one misses the whole rhetorical strategy the Apostle lays out in the following several chapters). The argument is much more complex than what most folks reduce it to. All are convicted, according to the Apostle, and all have only one way out: the Blood of the Cross -- which is actually the message of Evangelical Christianity! To say things are morally wrong because they are not "natural" -- or morally good because they are -- (whatever "natural" means) is neither rational nor consistent with Scripture or Tradition.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Saturday, 8 October 2016 at 4:49pm BST

"I'm not sure why conservatives want to stray into the territory of science."

It's odd, too, that when conservatives can find a study to twist into a bit of gay-bashing they're all over it: "look," they shout, "science agrees with us! Science! SCIENCE!"

And then they pick up a journal which publishes papers in evolutionary biology, and then it's all "only a theory" and "science doesn't know everything" and "MY FAITH IS BEING ATTACKED BY ATHEIST SCIENTISTS".

They should try making their mind up. Even if we accept, arguendo, that there are reputable papers claiming bad outcomes for gay people (and those papers are, largely, either observing the effect of conservatives in making a hostile world for LGBT people, or are nonsense) there are at least as many reputable papers talking about the descent of man and primates from a common ancestor. What's it to be, conservatives?

Posted by Interested Observer at Monday, 10 October 2016 at 12:16pm BST

To be fair to Ian Paul, he's no problem with evolutionary theory.

As I said over at his blog, the causes of homosexuality are a Stalingrad for progressives, which can only aid traditionalists. Arguing them at all implicitly concedes that homosexuality is undesirable (if not, why would its voluntariness matter?), and gets people bogged down in ambiguous and poorly-understood data, instead of arguing the merits of treating all people equally. It depersonalizes the issue, turning a matter of justice and human rights to cold scientific abstracts.

Let the traditionalists produce their papers and journals. Outside the biological sciences, it just doesn't matter, not unless we let it.

Posted by James Byron at Tuesday, 11 October 2016 at 4:25pm BST

Interested Observer,

It's no mystery. They are hypocrites. It's that simple.

Why bother to be "nice" about it?

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 12 October 2016 at 6:42am BST

For those interested in the science, this article by Dean Hamer PhD explains the problems with the New Atlantis paper.

Posted by I_T at Wednesday, 12 October 2016 at 11:35pm BST

And for those who are interested in the science, peer-reviewed and not published by conservatives there is this:

Posted by Fr Andrew at Thursday, 13 October 2016 at 4:38pm BST

Is there anything more crushing to the soul, more destructive to faith, hope and charity than conservative religion?

Posted by MarkBrunson at Friday, 14 October 2016 at 9:48am BST
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