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Pioneer Pyschiatrist Robert Spitzer Apologizes For 2001 Ex-Gay Study. Should He Have His License Revoked?

Weeks after the blogosphere picked up on it, The New York Times ran a story today about Dr. Robert Spitzer apologizing for his controversial and poorly researched 2001 study of patients involved in so-called reparative therapy.

Published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior more than a decade ago, Spitzer’s “findings” indicated that many of the 200 men and women he surveyed reported a “change from a predominantly or exclusively homosexual orientation before therapy to a predominantly or exclusively heterosexual orientation in the past year,” according to the Times piece.

First presented at the 2001 APA convention, Can Some Gay Men and Lesbians Change Their Sexual Orientation? maintained that 66% of the men and 44% of the women interviewed had arrived at good heterosexual functioning, i.e., “being in a sustained, loving heterosexual relationship within the past year, getting enough satisfaction from the emotional relationship with their partner to rate at least 7 on a 10-point scale, having satisfying heterosexual sex at least monthly, and never or rarely thinking of somebody of the same sex during heterosexual sex.”

The study also claimed that “89% of men and 95% of women surveyed were just slightly or not at all plagued by “unwanted homosexual feelings,”

Even without a degree in psychiatry or statistics, we can tell Spitzer’s study is full of holes:

* He recruited his candidates from reparative-therapy groups NARTH and Exodus International, people with a strong desire to say they were seeing results, whether they were or not. People with strong religious values who needed to see results. Some were even active in anti-gay political  groups.

* Spitzer’s study was based on telephone interviews with these people, not objective physiological-response tests to erotic stimuli (i.e. hooking their junk up to wires.)

* His respondents weren’t all using the same therapy method—some were involved in independent Bible study or just trying to “pray away” the gay with their pastors.

* Spitzer’s questions required respondents to think back years, to fuzzy memories, and quantify what is nearly unquantifiable.

Yet, Spitzer—whom the Times calls the father of modern psychiatry—though he had some good science on his hands and ran with it.

Since they were first published, Spitzer’s findings have been picked up by Exodus, NARTH and other ex-gay groups, and used in as proof that their methods work. They’ve been cited by politicians trying to block anti-discrimination bills and same-sex marriage legislation.

And they’ve been read by countless men and women struggling with their sexuality, people despondent they couldn’t get over their “condition” like the folk Spitzer interviewed.

Would it be overstatement to say the study cost people their lives?

The Times profile paints a portrait of Spitzer as a man too eager to be seen as at “the pinnacle of his field.” A man who employed shoddy methods to get his name, his ideas, out in front. While Spitzer originally helped to remove homosexuality as a mental disorder in the 1970s—moving him to the forefront of the discipline—he chafed at being an authority figure:

But power was its own kind of confinement. Dr. Spitzer could still disturb the peace, all right, but no longer from the flanks, as a rebel. Now he was the establishment. And in the late 1990s, friends say, he remained restless as ever, eager to challenge common assumptions.

Criticism of the study emerged immediately: It was rejected by the APA and Spitzer was excoriated by both fellow psychiatrists and members of the gay community. But it look him more than a decade to respond. In a letter to be published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior this month, Spitzer writes “I believe I owe the gay community an apology.”

That’s the very least you owe us, doctor.

Even in his mea culpa, Spitzer, now crippled by Parkinson’s, seems unable to let go of the egotism that lead him to threaten the rights and well-being of so many LGBT people.

“You know, it’s the only regret I have; the only professional one,” Dr. Spitzer said of the study, near the end of a long interview. “And I think, in the history of psychiatry, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a scientist write a letter saying that the data were all there but were totally misinterpreted. Who admitted that and who apologized to his readers.”

He looked away and back again, his big eyes blurring with emotion. “That’s something, don’t you think?”

No, not really.

By:           Dan Avery
On:           May 18, 2012
Tagged: , ,

  • 49 Comments
    • MikeE
      MikeE

      the study is so profoundly flawed that it should never have been published in the first place.

      I could probably do a study on public flatulence in upper-class women in North America and you would be amazed that NONE of them admit to ever having farted in the presence of another living human being. Some might even go as far as to admit never having passed gas int their entire lives.

      You can make a study say anything you want if all you do is ask people to answer questions without demonstrating proof.

      May 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Well
      Well

      Well, he apologized. You cannot ask people to change and then keep hounding them when they do. Nothing good can come at this point from trying to destroy an old man with Parkinson’s who is sorry about his past.

      May 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mikel D McGrew
      Mikel D McGrew

      He is trying to gain redemption for his errors and should be supported rather than condemned. If anything, some hours working with HIV patients or gay support groups would go a long way toward his gaining understanding.

      May 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bipolar Bear
      Bipolar Bear

      Given the damage it’s done, yes he should have his licence revoked.

      Psychiatrists are doctors, and isn’t the most important part of the oath – “First, do no harm” ?

      http://bipolarbear.co.nz/2012/04/19/ex-gay-still-no-way/

      May 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Who actually likes coffee?
      Who actually likes coffee?

      Yeah, and he was also instrumental in removing homosexuality from the DSM in 1973. Why vilify this man who has been supportive of LGBT rights ever since LGBT righs were invented?

      He made a mistake in publishing this flawed study, but he did it out of scientific curiosity and not some malicious intent and now he has sincerely apologized for it. Really, guys, this man is not the enemy.

      May 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zack
      Zack

      From what I’ve read he’s a proper scientist who did this study as best it could be done with the information presented. The ex-gay people he interviewed were as deluded as they usually are, and gave him the lies which got published. Whether or not his subjects were telling the truth is not the scientist’s judgement to make.

      It was the anti-gay movement that took his work and crowed it was proof that gays could be “cured”, and I salute him for coming forward and trying to stop such misuse of his work. He is an ally and a good scientist and I wish people could see that instead of just the damage this study was used to inflict.

      May 18, 2012 at 6:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Reid McComment
      Reid McComment

      Look I agree. I think this gay thing is a bit pushy. I feel like everything is an effort to acclimate society to homosexuality. The media, movies, songs, books, cartoons, parades, GGW college, professors, I mean its overwhelming even the Prez. As President I think there is a higher standard at least when it comes to morality, what’s next, Obama advocating that he thinks people who are into S&M should be able to show it? Ok people might think that’s a stretch, but its a sexual preference, that is at least more natural than homosexuality. But that’s not why I am commenting. I am commenting because I ran across an article that gives the blueprint that will pretty much keep gay marriage in check, I can’t believe its so simple and fair, everyone should read this and take it for the truth,

      http://bit.ly/LS78X9

      May 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WillBFair
      WillBFair

      That was a different time, and it was probably easy for him to be influenced by the greater atmosphere of hatred. And he has made ammends, by removing homos from pathology, and by apologizing.
      The idea to revoke him is vengeful; it’s very counterproductive and makes us look bad. Drop it.

      May 18, 2012 at 7:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chuck
      Chuck

      ’bout time.

      May 18, 2012 at 7:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • UsualPlayers
      UsualPlayers

      Although he apologized, it is the same as a criminal apologizing: While we may forgive, that doesn’t excuse the offense or the penalties that should accrue for it.

      That being said, I am not sure taking away his license should be considered. Certainly, requiring him to do more than an apology would be expected. May be a tour through GLAAD where he discusses with conservatives why these studies are wrong.

      May 18, 2012 at 7:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      When I first read about the study, what I thought he was trying to do seemed reasonable: others had already shown that in most cases reparative therapy harms patients. He was trying to look at the self-reported success stories. If those individuals turned out to have not been helped, that would have driven the nail into the proverbial coffin: a therapy that harms most patients and helps none should be prohibited – it is a “no brainer”.

      What he seemed to have found (under the assumption that he did the research correctly as one would expect given his expertise) was that there were a very small number of people whose sexual orientations are switchable. If so, that would have been an interesting result – it would have been similar to discovering that a few individuals are “double jointed”: people with that trait can safely bend their fingers in ways that would in most cases cause an injury.

      I suspect when he started the work, he expected to find evidence that the success stories were people who were fooling themselves, and as it turns out he was fooled instead. That’s too bad, but he should not be treated as “the enemy” as a result. He was most likely simply trying to find some results that he and maybe his students could publish.

      He shouldn’t have his license revoked (if he has one – he is a researcher and might not have any patients and hence not have needed a license), as he did not make any mistakes in the treatment of patients.

      May 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 10 · UsualPlayers. “May be a tour through GLAAD where he discusses with conservatives why these studies are wrong.”

      Why? Some time ago, I saw a video of him stating that conservatives were misrepresenting his research. Apparently he signed a release so that part of what he wrote could be quoted and they quoted it out of context and spun a story around it. The wording of the release was such that Spitzer had no legal recourse. It wasn’t malice on his part – it was the result him of not being a lawyer.

      He can’t correct the misrepresentations on his own because they can spend far more than he can to the point where anything he says would be swamped.

      May 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Blah, bla..huh?
      Blah, bla..huh?

      “Should he have his license revoked?”

      Yes.

      I doesn’t matter what influence his “community” had on him at any point in his drawing, study, and authoring of his “studies”. His lack of due diligence and flaccid half-man excuses not withstanding, we’re left dealing with a charlatan here. Too bad, so sad.

      May 18, 2012 at 8:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      http://www.stolaf.edu/people/huff/classes/Psych130S2012/LabDocuments/Spitzer.pdf has a copy of the full paper. It’s worth reading before commenting on Spitzer.

      BTW, in the discussion section, Spitzer states, “Although initially skeptical, in the course of the study, the author became convinced of the possibility of change in some gay men and lesbians.” In other words, his expectations were that he’d find that reparative therapy did not work at all!

      Whatever mistakes he might have made, don’t treat him as an enemy. He isn’t.

      May 18, 2012 at 9:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lance
      Lance

      The blood is on his hands and there is no water that can wash it off.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chris S.
      Chris S.

      Listen…jerks. His study was taken out of context by the ex-gay movement to support their work. I’m pretty sure he acknowledged the flaws of the study in the paper he wrote, and doesn’t seem to have drawn any conclusions about the effectiveness of reparative therapy on the whole…he just reported what his sample told him. He ALSO didn’t try to make any value judgments and say that gays should or should not undergo the “treatment.” Again…he just reported what his subjects told him.

      And frankly, the man is kind of a hero. He was on the forefront of having homosexuality removed from the DSM in the 70’s. And now you want to crucify him for one study that was abused by bigots? Jesus…we should be thanking him for all the other work he’s done, and the fact that he’s trying to take his work back from the bigots.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • UsualPlayers
      UsualPlayers

      B,

      Because its his responsibility for having put the work out there to make sure (1) its understood correctly and (2) that he does something about damage that he obviously think he caused. If you still don’t understand why someone apologizing should do something more than apologize for their mistakes, I am not sure what to tell you.

      May 19, 2012 at 1:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • UsualPlayers
      UsualPlayers

      I don’t buy the contra versus pro debate style on every issue posted here. I think that its a little suspect.

      I suspect if someone posted an article on “gays should be killed” there would be those defending it here as well as those not defending it.

      The con and pro here makes me suspicious.

      May 19, 2012 at 1:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 18 · UsualPlayers wrote, “B, Because its his responsibility for having put the work out there to make sure (1) its understood correctly and (2) that he does something about damage that he obviously think he caused. If you still don’t understand why someone apologizing should do something more than apologize for their mistakes, I am not sure what to tell you.”

      First, what he had a reason to apologize for was a mistake in his analysis that led him to believe that the people he interviewed weren’t fooling themselves or lying outright.

      Second, he published the article in a journal meant for professionals who are fully capable of critically evaluating what they read. He didn’t advertise in the press although the press picked up on it.

      Third, there’s a video I saw some years ago of him stating that he was being misrepresented. But he worked at a university. He doesn’t have the sort of budget that NOM has to attack gays. If NOM or similar groups want to misuse his research, there is really nothing he can do to stop them. He can deny it if asked, but he doesn’t have the financial resources to counter a well-funded media campaign. The video of him is more than a “mere apology” – it included a discussion of how anti-gay groups were misrepresenting him.

      BTW, here’s a video from 2007 (before his retraction), where he complained about how people are misusing his research: http://christiangays.com/articles/besen25.shtml . He did an interview with a Focus on the Family guy and his statement that being able to change one sexual orientation was very rare was simply clipped from the interview. Unfortunately, and to his chagrin, there was nothing he could do legally about it – he had given permission to show the interview. Possible some term in the fine print allowed it to be edited. Even then, he indicated he had second thoughts about the impact of the research given how people were misusing it – something he didn’t realize when the work was done.

      May 19, 2012 at 3:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Blah, bla..huh?
      Blah, bla..huh?

      @UsualPlayers: “Because its his responsibility for having put the work out there to make sure (1) its understood correctly and (2) that he does something about damage that he obviously think he caused. If you still don’t understand why someone apologizing should do something more than apologize for their mistakes, I am not sure what to tell you.”

      Ahh, those heady, swirly-psychedelic Bush Years…where have they gone? Just remember people, there was a time when one could consider hobnobbing with social engineering ultra-right wingers, while entertaining them as potential peers consequence-free. You didn’t need to consider what compromises you made on your field of study, everything was coooooool, daddy. Free money! 18 holes with Ted Haggard and Pat, wow! sure you put up with a little “culture war” wackiness, but who does it hurt? I mean c’mon, everyone sells out at least once, riiiiiiight? It’s so great to be a moderate nihilist, sir. I’d like to get to know your work some day!

      May 19, 2012 at 7:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jason M
      Jason M

      When you say, “Even without a degree in psychiatry or statistics, we can tell Spitzer’s study is full of holes”, its really easy to tell you don’t have a degree in either or familiarity with much of modern academic scientific process.

      Point 1: If he doesn’t recruit the Ex-Gays from NARTH or Exodus, where he find Ex-Gays? There aren’t that many of them, and most anyone who tries to become Ex-Gay will be a person “with a strong desire to say they were seeing results, whether they were or not”, or “strong religious values who needed to see results”

      Point 2: Lots of studies are done over telephone. Its amazing you went directly to “hooking their junk up to wires”. Sure it may seem always preferable to get the physiological observations, it may be impractical because subjects refuse or are spread out across a wide geography.

      Point 3: If his point is to find out if its possible for people to change sexuality, it the method they use doesn’t matter only the results. Once you prove it is possible then you can take a look at the how.

      Point 4: I think this is a point that lawyers use against people who were abused as children but are now adults.

      I don’t like the way his study was used. Nor do I think people should try conversion therapies (don’t use the term “reparative therapy” you can’t repair what’s not broken), and especially not for minors. But if an adult decides they want to try it, I’m not going to tell them they can’t. That’s their decision, just like drug use, fashion, and fetishes.

      Likewise, I’m not going to tell you how you should or should write, even though articles like this make us all seem like hateful, vindictive, and catty mo’s.

      May 19, 2012 at 10:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alan brickman
      Alan brickman

      He’s apologizing not because he is truly sorry…but because he thinks it’ll stop his license from being revoked…remorseless and arrogant!

      May 19, 2012 at 10:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Well
      Well

      Jeez, a lot of deliberate judgmental know-nothings here. He did incalculably more good for the national and indeed the global gay rights struggle than all of you jerks combined will ever contribute to humanity. He is one of our greatest and earliest allies, given that he was the main person responsible for fighting to remove the status of homosexuality as a disease in the official manual of the psychiatric profession in the 70s. The beneficial consequences of the paradigm shift that he initiated cannot be overstated – indeed that was, and remains, a huge driving force of the global gay rights revolution. He deserves a fucking medal for that, if not the Nobel peace prize.

      May 19, 2012 at 11:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • UsualPlayers
      UsualPlayers

      Again I am suspicious of some of the posts here that seem to be meant to instigate comments.

      May 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • IzzyLuna
      IzzyLuna

      The sad part is, who knows how many people read those studies or participated in those ex-gay programs and lead them to suicide.

      May 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Re No. 22 · Alan brickman wrote, “He’s apologizing not because he is truly sorry…but because he thinks it’ll stop his license from being revoked…remorseless and arrogant!” … that statement is obviously not true. He’s 80 years old and now has Parkinson’s disease. He’s probably retired at this point or very close, with activities limited by his medical condition. Any mistake in his publication would not be grounds for revoking a license as he was not treating any patients – he just ran a survey over the telephone and reported the results. Any of us have the right to do that as well, if so inclined – you don’t need a license to run a telephone survey nor to publish the results.

      Re No. 25 · IzzyLuna wrote, “The sad part is, who knows how many people read those studies or participated in those ex-gay programs and lead them to suicide.” There was a single study (I provided a link to the paper) and most likely only professionals or researchers bothered to read it for the most part. Spitzer did not have anything to do with running any ex-gay program – he merely interviewed people who tried such programs and thought they worked. He was trying to see if the self-reported successes were in fact successes. His own statement was that finding anyone who claimed reparative therapy was successful was very difficult – i.e., in nearly all cases it failed (apparently in all cases, given his retraction), so it took a lot of effort to even find some individuals who thought the therapy worked.

      For the average person, the most likely outcome of reading Spitzer’s paper would be to doze off part way through it. Like most technical articles, it was meant for researchers who are motivated enough to wade through material that would bore the average person to tears.

      May 19, 2012 at 3:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • axon
      axon

      He’s a sloppy scientist, that’s the bottom line. A sloppy scientist with no common sense.

      Given all the time he spent on the subject, he should have spotted at least two decades ago that sexuality is in people’s fibres and whole existence, it’s not something superficial, not a mind-game. Freud’s idea that we are all born bisexual and then choose, is one of the stupidest concepts ever, even more stupid than the penis envy theory.

      Well, at least he admitted he’s been an idiot. I hope it helps some people and stops the conservatives from using his “science” for their sinister ends.

      May 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Guest
      Guest

      @Well: Doing something great and then doing something horrible doesn’t give you a pass for the horrible thing you did. It’s like Michael Jackson. He made great music and should he get a pass for his behavior with kids? No. Spitzer’s using questionable scientific methods to fake findings that left many many people in torment is reprehensible. An apology is not enough. This kind of behavior should result in removal of his license.

      May 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • axon
      axon

      @Zack: “Whether or not his subjects were telling the truth is not the scientist’s judgement to make.”… which is why you never conduct a study this way, it’s about the first thing you learn. You don’t just ask people, highly motivated to give a specific answer, over the phone. You CHECK one way or the other whether what they are saying is true. That’s the scientific part of the whole thing. Without that, you may as well just leave it.

      But I agree he’s not in a good place with his Parkinson’s and it’s not the time to be unkind.

      May 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • axon
      axon

      @Guest: Please keep Michael Jackson out of this. He was tried and acquitted, let’s respect that.

      May 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Well
      Well

      Well, if we are going to call him a sloppy scientist, let’s not make that statement on the basis of politically motivated statements that it should be obvious that homosexuality is innate. It is in fact far from clear that it is entirely innate, as evidenced by the examples of identical twins where one is straight and the other gay. And bisexuality certainly also exists. It IS possible to acknowledge the uncertainties in our understanding of sexuality and still be in favor of gay rights. Yet unfortunately many gay people feel the need to bully any researcher who even touches the subject with a ten foot pole. When did we as gay people become so strident and intolerant?

      In any case, I think it should be a requirement to read the full article in question first, as well as the full retraction, and learn a little bit more about the pro-gay work Spitzer did before many of you were even born, before making statement out of your asses.

      May 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Blah, bla..huh?
      Blah, bla..huh?

      @Well: Lots of people were pro gay until the the Bush admin ran an entire campaign demonizing us. Then, many of them went with the money. Now, we’re presented with the huffy-pants brigade like “Well” flouncing around as best they can with their heads up some false “ally” or another’s ass. It’s all relative, especially when one can perform simple tasks, like say, remembering and stuff.

      May 19, 2012 at 5:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • VictorG
      VictorG

      Too little too late for that old quack. Disbar him then tar and feather him and ride him out of town on a rail. Even that’s too good for all the misery that mutherfucker caused. How about draw & quartering him? Yeah, that sounds about right…

      May 19, 2012 at 6:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 28 · Guest wrote, “No. Spitzer’s using questionable scientific methods to fake findings that left many many people in torment is reprehensible.”

      While Spitzer has indicated that he made a mistake analyzing his data, he was not trying to “fake” findings, much less “findings that left many many people in torment.”

      What he claimed in his paper (which you should read – the URL was cited above in a previous comment) was that some people (a small number) can change their sexual orientation. Most cannot. There’s no law of nature that requires that the sexual orientations we know about are the only ones that exist. If his results had been correct, he might have discovered that a very small number of people can be attracted to either gender (like bisexuals) but are attracted to only one gender at a time, only occasionally switching the genders they are attracted to. If so, that would be an interesting fact – it would mean that our taxonomy of sexual orientations would need to be expanded.

      May 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 17 · UsualPlayers wrote, “B, Because its his responsibility for having put the work out there to make sure (1) its understood correctly…”

      This statement deserves a counter example. For many decades, people have gone around using the Heisenberg uncertainty principle as a metaphor and applying it to things it has absolutely nothing to do with. Do you think Werner Heisenberg should have put his career on hold and spent the rest of his life trying to correct all of that nonsense (which had nothing to do with physics)?

      May 19, 2012 at 9:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Blah, bla..huh?
      Blah, bla..huh?

      @B: Ah, it’s like the time known evangelical anti physics foes of Heisenberg’s UP who spent decades crafting slanderous campaigns against him and his best work finally made some money. (remember, when the John Birch society was bought out by Koch Industries?) They then approached him to open the door to new possibilites, maybe they were only a little full of shit and 99% revisionist minded, not the 100% full of it their well established track record as lying propagandists might indicate.

      But hey, they had money now! And logical constructs don’t have queers who keep you from making money, so he went along with it. They jacked him out of his life’s legacy, but what the hell, he needed their Jeezus data if he was going to make some cheddar for retirement. Is that what you mean? I don’t recall that story, I just pulled it out of my ass ‘cuase it’s like really easy to build on bullshit and speculate ’till everyone’s distracted, isn’t it? But still you know, like it coulda…..I mean you’d have to dig the dude up and be ready with those heart paddle thingies, but it mighta….*sigh*. Servant, Bring me a Mai Thai! I’m thirsty B.

      May 19, 2012 at 9:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 36 · Blah, bla..huh? wrote, “@B: Ah, it’s like the time known evangelical anti physics foes of Heisenberg’s UP who spent decades crafting slanderous campaigns against him and his best work finally made some money. …”

      What the hell are you babbling about? What I was referring to was nonsense like this:
      http://blog.beliefnet.com/fellowshipofsaintsandsinners/2012/02/the-uncertainty-principle.html where some character tries to apply it as follows: “The closer the media pundits zero in on any one candidate, measuring his mettle (or lack thereof), the more “foggy” and out of focus the other candidates and their records become.”

      May 19, 2012 at 10:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Blah, bla..huh?
      Blah, bla..huh?

      @B: Try and focus. I’m not you, nor am I the guy you’re replying to, apparently. I am well aware what believers say.

      May 19, 2012 at 11:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DrDrew
      DrDrew

      Lots of people do bad science. Lots of people who are experts in their fields publish bad science that hurts people. The reprehensible aspect of this is that he did bad science, published it, hurt people, realized it and then sat on his realization for over a decade. He deserves to be locked in by his Parkinson’s and then spend another decade with nothing to do but survive, suffer and consider the error of his ways.

      May 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 38 · “Blah, bla..huh?” must be a troll – when he said, “@B: Try and focus. I’m not you, nor am I the guy you’re replying to, apparently.” he is denying that he posted what he wrote in No 36 above.

      If he’s not a troll, he must be one of the dumbest commenters here: he can’t even remember what he just wrote, nor can he scroll upwards a few comments to check.

      May 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 39 · DrDrew wrote, “The reprehensible aspect of this is that he did bad science, published it, hurt people, realized it and then sat on his realization for over a decade.”

      This is simply not true. In 2007 or earlier he did an interview in which he indicated how his results were being taken out of context and distorted, and he clearly indicated that reparative therapy does not work for the vast majority of people who try it. You can see the video at http://christiangays.com/articles/besen25.shtml (it is on other web sites as well, but this one is dated February 2007 in an article written by Wayne Besen, who makes favorable comments about Spitzer).

      In the years following the publication of this paper, Spitzer did try to correct misconceptions about his results. He claimed that, while he thought some people could change their sexual orientation, it was very unusual – he suggested that the chance of a success was more like 1% than 10%, and that it took him a year and a half to find 200 people who claimed it actually worked for them.

      It wasn’t Spitzer who was hurting people – it was the guys running reparative therapy businesses who were hurting people, and lying about Spitzer’s research to help drum up more business.

      It’s sad, but the facts of life are that if some outfit with some funding wants to misrepresent you, and you aren’t incredibly rich, there is nothing you can do about it.

      May 20, 2012 at 12:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DrDrew
      DrDrew

      There’s a difference between whining about his study being misused and doing what he is doing now…refuting the study and apologizing. Too little, too late, too many lives ruined. If his research had been on a medication or device, he would be in court defending himself for willful endangerment instead of on the cover of the Times saying how sorry he is.

      May 20, 2012 at 12:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • axon
      axon

      No one can change their sexual orientation ever, and Spitzer should have understood that. If traumatized enough we can become numb and suppress our sexuality altogether (at least for a period of time), and we can be bisexual, but not change. If we are bisexual, then we can go by whoever we happen to fall in love with, and stay happy with them (Angelina Jolie a case in point, perhaps?). This is not exactly news. To have phone conversations and from them draw the conclusion that Bible studies “work” for curing 10% of homosexuals, then change it later to 1% but not withdraw the conclusion, IS bad science from start to end.

      May 20, 2012 at 2:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Blah, bla..huh?
      Blah, bla..huh?

      @B: For the last time wank breath, he got the subjects via cooperation with pseudo scientists, and altered his study to suit them. It was profitable, easy, and he thought he wouldn’t get caught. Some of us forgive, but a few of us don’t forget…you can fall for the conservative vs. religious false dilemmas all you like, but I don’t play that banana in the tail pipe mess. That’s how actual lives become political footballs in the first place, numbnuts. You’re following a story with altered time lines, and half of that is revisionist musing from think tank trolls anyway. Wake the hell up, you’re making the same mistake your hero did. I’m not gonna run and get your stick, dummy.

      May 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bellerophon69
      Bellerophon69

      First; the study he presented was flawed, however in science that is not a reason to revoke a licence or tenure, doctors must be free to publish their findings no matter how flawed or unpopular the theory without fear of losing their jobs if they are wrong. Science is based on proof and disproof. Second; any group of idiots who take a flawed or incorrect thesis and make it the sole basis of their platform and predjudice prove that they are idiots, no single study proves anything conclusively. Testis unis testis nullis. Third; he has said in recent years that his paper was taken out of context and that the methodology was flawed, and a bunch of idiots that he did not agree with had co-opted his paper to their own gain. His mea culpas are not just occuring now.

      May 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aussie Col
      Aussie Col

      The science wasn’t flawed it was faked. He should be forgiven, but he should face whatever the penalty is for faking scientific studies. he should use the rest of his life denouncing those who still quote his fakery, if he truly is concerned about his reputation and his soul.

      May 20, 2012 at 9:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Re No. 44 · “Blah, bla..huh?”, who libeled Spitzer by claiming, “@B: For the last time wank breath, he got the subjects via cooperation with pseudo scientists, and altered his study to suit them. It was profitable, easy, and he thought he wouldn’t get caught.”

      That claim is pure nonsense. He simply got a list of people to contact by whatever means was at his disposal and looked at those who claimed reparative therapy worked for them. The most likely explanation is that he simply fooled himself by accepting statements from surveys that he should have treated more critically.

      Re No. 46 · Aussie Col, who also libeled Spitzer by saying, “The science wasn’t flawed it was faked.”

      It wasn’t faked; it was simply wrong. If he had faked it, his peers wouldn’t have criticized his methodology in a way that Spitzer subsequently (after a lot of consideration) accepted. If Spitzer had faked it, he would have done it in such a way that he would not have received those critical comments from his peers.

      May 22, 2012 at 11:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aussie Col
      Aussie Col

      @B: You can’t libel a lazy fraud. He has caused untold harm and I wonder why you have set yourself up as an apologist? His findings are, and I agree with you, definitely wrong. I have no tolerance for people like him and pseudo science. However, I do applaud his courage to set the record straight and admire his conscience for making it public.
      I say faked because he interviewed the people over the phone; didn’t take into account their mental state by using direct observation to check the veracity of their statements, and didn’t advise anyone of it until now. He did no arousal study. And where are the people that used conversion therapy and didn’t do well? (of course a lot of them are dead) It’s these omissions of process and his cherry-picked participants (victims) that leads me to consider him a fraud and a fake. I make no apologies for my comments, his words have been used to murder, deny and degrade my human family for far too long. He was..and I say was, an enabler for a greater evil that will be decried in the writing of history.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Blah, bla..huh?
      Blah, bla..huh?

      @B: “He simply got a list of people to contact by whatever means was at his disposal”

      HHAHAHHHAHAHAAAAAA! STFU.

      “libel”

      STFU and die.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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