Dr. James Dobson Focus on the Family Colorado Springs, CO 80995
April 30, 2008
Dear Dr. Dobson,
I want to draw your attention to a gross misrepresentation of our research at the website of "Focus on the Family" (see http://www.family.org/socialissues/A000000682.cfm). In the third paragraph of the article, "Myths and Facts," our research is cited in support of the statement: "During early adolescence, many children experience a period of sexual-identity confusion when they can easily be influenced in either direction."
First, please note that the citation itself is incorrect. The original article was published in Pediatrics, not Journal of Pediatrics. The correct reference is: Remafedi G, Resnick M, Blum R, Harris L. Demography of sexual orientation in adolescents. Pediatrics. 89(4):714-721, 1992. More important, had the authors of "Myths and Facts" actually read the article, they would have found no support for their contention that "many children experience a period of sexual-identity confusion when they can be influenced in either direction." The word confusion does not appear in our article; nor did we find that anyone can influence a young person's sexual identity.
The purpose of our study was to explore patterns of sexual orientation in a representative sample of more than 34,000 Minnesota students in grades 7 to 12. We found that the percentage of student who reported being "unsure" about their orientation steadily declined with age from 25.9% in 12-year-old persons to 5% in 18 year-old students (p. 716). Youth who were "unsure" were more likely than others to entertain homosexual fantasies and attractions and less likely to have had heterosexual experiences (p. 720). These and other data suggested that uncertainty about sexual orientation "gradually gives way to heterosexual or homosexual identification with the passage of time and/or with increasing sexual experience" (p. 720).
Please ask the authors of the misstatements to correct them as soon as possible. In the interest of accurate translation of research into practice, a copy of this letter will be posted at www.truthwinsout.org. Thank you for your attention. Respectfully yours,
Gary Remafedi, M.D., M.P.H. Professor, Department of Pediatrics University of Minnesota 428 Oak Grove St. Minneapolis, MN 55403
This Doctor, a real one not fake like mr. Thockmorton, shows both class and conviction in his request for honesty. Although it would be nice to see FOF actually correct the mistake, if it even was a mistake, I highly doubt they will. At least the truth is out there for all to see.
posted by Jon, at
4/30/2008 4:22 PM
I guess dobson (i refuse to call this lying bigoted toad Dr.) thinks Thou Shalt Not Lie (or Bear False Witness) doesnt apply to him; like a typical totalitarian fascist, the ends always justifies the means.
posted by Anonymous, at
4/30/2008 4:38 PM
Maybe it's that - or maybe Dobson sincerely believes he is on the side of truth and justice. He may not even realize what he's saying isn't true. He might be so self-righteous he believes he is infallible and God wouldn't allow him to say or do something that wasn't true or right.
It's hard to tell whether powerful figures like Dobson should be viewed cynically, as knowing manipulators; or pitied and feared, as honest-to-god mental cases who believe their own lies and have no grasp on reality.
I wonder though, does it make a difference, and if so, what is that difference?
posted by Eshto, at
4/30/2008 5:00 PM
Wow! How many of these high-profile researchers have to come forward with examples of these types of distortions of their work before the media realizes there is a story here?
Dobson and Focus on the Family are lying about the results of scientific research to support a pseudoscientific practice ("ex-gay" therapy) that is causing a great deal of harm. Dobson is ostensibly a psychologist. His lies regarding the findings of reputable researchers are tantamount to malpractice.
posted by Anonymous, at
4/30/2008 5:01 PM
It makes a difference because the complaints are piling up. And it's good to keep a record for prosperity.
And to answer anonymous's question - I can point to at least eight cases in which researchers have complained about the distortion of their work by the religious right.
posted by BlackTsunami, at
4/30/2008 6:21 PM
I don't know if your researcher is aware of respectmyresearch.org
It's a collection of academics tired of Fotf and going public with thier objections especially after being rebuffed. It's interesting reading. From respectmyresearch.org
"If your research has been twisted or misused by Dobson or others, please report these infractions. Only by shining a light on these lies, can we a change this deplorable behavior. Together, we can help put an end to the dishonest practice of hijacking science in support of extremism."
It makes a difference because the complaints are piling up. And it's good to keep a record for prosperity."
No, I know it definitely makes a difference that their lies and manipulations are exposed, both for ethical and scientific reasons.
What I meant was, does it make a difference if Dobson and others of his ilk are knowingly lying and manipulating, or if they are so deluded that they believe what they are saying. Evil vs. crazy I guess are the choices here.
Do either of those warrant a different approach to the problem, is what I was asking. Or is the solution still just to point out the misrepresentation of research.
posted by Eshto, at
5/04/2008 1:31 PM