NARTH really wants to be on the same page with Francis Collins, the current Director of the National Institute of Health. Or at least they really want you to think they are. NARTH is now accusing Exgaywatch editor of somehow duping Francis Collins into criticizing a NARTH article by Dean Byrd which cited Collins. Yes, that is right, NARTH believes David (Skywalker) Roberts and the Jedi Knights at XGW used their mind tricks on the current director of the National Institute of Health, causing him to misrepresent a NARTH article.
You need to go read Roberts post at XGW to get the story.
About the current NARTH apologetic, there are a couple of observations I would like to offer.
Throughout the current article, NARTH confuses genetic with biological. Perhaps, “simple biological theory” means genetic to NARTH. But such a description obscures more than it clarifies. Note this passage:
In April, 2007, NARTH posted a peer-reviewed article which considered what science could and could not say about the genesis of homosexuality. The article basically focused on whether not homosexuality could be explained by a simple biological theory. The article cited a number of studies and scientists, including Dr. Francis S. Collins, and basically, concluded that evidence for a simple biological theory of homosexuality was lacking. The article made no mention of alterability of homosexuality.
The first problem here is that the NARTH article does not consider what “science could and could not say about the genesis of homosexuality.” It did not focus on “whether not homosexuality could be explained by a simple biological theory.” Nor did it conclude that “evidence for a simple biological theory of homosexuality was lacking.” What it did do was briefly discuss estimates of heritability based on several twin studies.
The problem with NARTH’s description is that biology is more than heritability. There are genetic factors which show up larger than expected by chance which is all Collins had to say about the matter. He did not opine on prenatal hormonal influences, such as prenatal testosterone. Collins did not opine on the reasons for maternal chromosomal skewing which occurs far more often in moms of gay men than in moms of straight men. Collins did not discuss brain scans demonstrating differential responses based on sexual orientation to male and female sweat. Nor did Collins say anything in his book about differences in brain symmetry between gays and straights. Thus, Collins did not review all of the biological evidence, nor did NARTH in its “peer-reviewed” article consider “what science could and could not say about the genesis of homosexuality” or demonstrate that a “simple biological theory was lacking.”
In the current article, NARTH labors to demonstrate that Collins agrees with them but doesn’t deal with the fact that he did not agree with them when he commented on the matter. If NARTH contacted Collins directly, it is not disclosed. Their problem is not with XGW but with Collins who said that the original article used his quotes which were “juxtaposed in a way that suggests a somewhat different conclusion that I intended. I would urge anyone who is concerned about the meaning to refer back to the original text.” (quote from Collins to Roberts).
That is good advice. Skip NARTH and go read the Language of God by Francis Collins.
UPDATE: In preparation for this post, I wrote David Pruden and asked if NARTH had made an attempt to contact Dr. Collins with their concerns. First of all, Mr. Pruden clarified that he did not write the article, but rather NARTH’s executive committee did. Here is the response of NARTH’s executive committee to my inquiries:
If Dr. Collins had problems with a NARTH article, it was his responsibility to contact us.
So the problem here is Dr. Collins?
I also asked about NARTH’s peer review process. They wrote:
NARTH’s articles go through the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). Scientists, both affiliated and unaffiliated with NARTH, are peer-reviewers. As you are aware, peer reviews are blinded reviews and the identity of peer-reviewers remain anonymous; otherwise the peer review process would not work. The peer review process is similar to the peer review process at other places. Steve Simon’s involvement was noted at the end of the article which was posted in 2007.
So the reviewers are their advisors and some unnamed people who are not on their board. Most journals publish an editorial board member list so one can see the qualifications of those who vouch for the integrity of the content. The SAC is published but the outside reviewers are not.
I also asked if NARTH was going to publish the results of their Freedom of Information Request. They replied:
The FOI request resulted in a significant amount of information, only some of which was related to this article. Perhaps you might be willing to publish your communication with Dr. Collins to see how that compares to the information we have obtained.