Features

Shrinking discussion

"Shrinking discussion" Continued...

Issue: "New faces of New Orleans," Aug. 15, 2009

Q: Were you criticized on the basis of science, or were the attacks ad hominem, personal?

Almost completely ad hominem. An objective scientific debate would without question be overwhelmingly won by those who say that homosexuality is primarily environmentally determined.

Q: People with long experience working with patients know this, right?

Some do, but the knowledge is being lost. When it was considered kosher to treat homosexuality as a changeable condition, homosexuality was treated as potentially reversible. Not universally reversible-there's no such thing as 100 percent success in any kind of therapy-but a very significant success rate. Then it became increasingly politically incorrect to hold that point of view. We like to think of professionals as a cut above the man on the street in terms of their fiduciary responsibility and independence of thought, but sadly it's often the opposite. Professionals tend to be on average very influenced by social trends and fashions, especially if those fashions influence their ability to continue practicing and be a respected member of the community.

Q: We saw, with Proposition 8 in California, how people who made even a $100 contribution came under attack. So psychiatrists know that if they say what they think is true, they'll be harassed and attacked?

Yes. Activists have gone after professionals, particularly if they're relatively isolated, trying to suppress their freedom to speak or even to treat them. In the psychological professional associations, we have a number of times been within a hair's breadth of the associations making it an ethical violation for a therapist to help an individual change his sexuality, even if it's what the patient wants. (It has long been held in the psychotherapeutic professions that self-determination is a primary virtue, and you must respect what the patient wants. If you feel you can't do it or you don't want to help, that's fine, you recuse yourself, but you don't impose your point of view on the patient.)

Q: Would an ethical violation like that lead you to lose your license?

That's another step. An ethical violation might mean that you're excluded from participation in the professional society. If you feel you need the professional society-maybe for cost-effective malpractice insurance or other benefits, or it's just part of your identity-it's difficult for someone who isn't very independent to buck that trend. You have judges now depending on totally phony science, and nobody's out there calling these organizations to task. Other people know it, but they've been silenced.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

Comments

You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading

     

    House divided

    An American couple faces Qatari imprisonment over a tragedy…

    Advertisement