Sometime you just have to shake your head when right-wing fundamentalists claim to use science...
A new "study" has been released, conveniently on the heels of the American Psychological Association adopting a resolution calling on mental health professionals to stop telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments, claiming a 53% success rate in ex-gay conversion therapy.
There are so many holes in this bit of "science" that even the anti-gay, ultraconservative Baptist Press sounds a bit skeptical, introducing the study by saying: "In findings that directly contradict mainstream academic thought..." I think that's the first truthful thing they've ever reported.
And anyone want to guess who completely funded the bogus report? If you guessed Exodus International, then you get to move to the head of the class!
Let's take a trip down the rabbit hole and break down the new "study"...
Biased from the Start
The study was conducted by Stanton L. Jones of Wheaton College and Mark A. Yarhouse of Regent University and is a follow-up to one released two years ago. These two great scientific minds are obviously not biased to create an outcome they (or their money backers at Exodus) want at all.
The men followed 61 subjects over a span of six to seven years, recording "their failures and successes in their attempt to leave homosexuality." Which program were they going through to "leave homosexuality", you may ask?
All the subjects were going through programs set up by Exodus International- who funded the study. What a shocker!
Fun with Numbers
Let's look at the numbers from the "findings" and see how they really add up:
-- 23 percent reported a successful conversion to heterosexual attractions.
-- 30 percent reported living a celibate life and were content with their reduction in homosexual attractions. Altogether, those latter two categories were combined for a 53 percent success rate, the researchers said.
-- 16 percent of subjects had modest decreases in homosexual attractions and weren't satisfied with their degree of change but were committed to continuing the process.
-- 7 percent had seen no decrease in homosexual attractions but had not given up trying to change.
-- 25 percent of subjects were considered "failures," either because they gave up on the process and once again identified as a homosexual (20 percent) or because they had not yet embraced a homosexual identity but nevertheless had given up (5 percent).
Hmmm. So neutering gay men and making them celibate is curing them? Is that the loose definition of "leaving homosexuality" now- not having sex with anyone and having "reduced" attractions to men?
That's a low bar, even for these pseudo-scientists. Way to really tweak those success numbers.
But even more telling is the tiny side note about the number of people who dropped out of the study, yet aren't included in the "failure" numbers or in the control group percentages at all:
The study actually began with 98 subjects, but 37 dropped out by the six-year mark for various reasons, Jones said.
So almost 40% dropped out of the nutty study before the end and they just dropped them from numbers to increase their bogus "success" rates.
That's some scientific method they've got there...
Rigorous Scientific Standards? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Standards!
Poor, debunked Jones expressed frustration that the APA didn't take their study seriously at all:
They selectively apply rigorous scientific standards. So when it comes to examining the evidence that sexual orientation change can occur, they apply extraordinarily rigorous standards...
How dare the APA ask for rigorous scientific standards in studies relating to peoples mental well-being! The nerve! How could they not just blindly accept a movable control group, fluffed up numbers, and a compromised funding source?
Who needs science or standards when you have money and God on your side!
A Telling Ending to a Nutty Study
The Baptist Press is reporting that this will be the final part of the study:
The latest set of data is the final set from the researchers. A lack of funding, as well as a belief that the data is conclusive, has resulted in them stopping the longitudinal study.
Looks like Exodus can't even afford to create their own science anymore. Break out the violins.
Perhaps what sums up the study the best comes from the man conducting it:
In our experience from discussing with the subjects, an awful lot of them just want to move on. We had to really persuade people to stay in for this final assessment.
We finally agree on something, Jones. The subjects want to move on from the physiological damage you and Exodus have put them through.