Friday, 1 February 2013

Professor Michael King applies double standard to evidence on homosexual change therapies

A woman who is happily married with children falls in love with another woman but is desperate to keep her marriage together. Should she be able to accept professional help to deal with her unwanted feelings of same sex attraction?

A bisexual man wants to marry his girlfriend but is worried that his residual feelings of erotic attraction to other men might jeopardise the relationship. Should he be able to seek professional help?

Currently in Britain the answer is ‘no’ but these questions were at the very heart of a fascinating debate that took place in the House of Commons this week under the title ‘Sexual reorientation therapy: Freedom to change?’

The event was subtitled ‘Should people be able to change their sexual orientation?’ and was billed as being ‘a debate about the legitimacy and freedom to offer sexual reorientation when many professional bodies are banning such therapies’.

‘Change therapy’ is psychotherapy or cognitive therapy aimed helping people who wish to change the strength or direction of their sexual desires. These therapies are more correctly termed SOCEs (sexual orientation change efforts).

When a person’s sexual desires and values don’t match up they might seek professional help either to help them overcome guilt so that they can participate freely in same sex behaviour (gay affirmative therapy) or alternatively to deal with feelings of same sex attraction so that they can abstain (change therapy). But only the first kind of therapy is currently approved by professional bodies. Is this fair and justified? We were about to find out.

Dr Michael Davidson of CORE Issues (who is about to undergo a disciplinary procedure for using change therapy) and Canadian psychiatrist Dr Joseph Berger (who uses it regularly) were supporting change therapy.

Psychiatrist Professor Michael King (who is its most vehement UK critic) and gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell were against it.

Although members of the mainstream press were present the debate has so far been reported only by Christian Concern, Pink News and Gay Star News.

Tatchell and King essentially argued that homosexual orientation was biologically caused and fixed, that change was impossible and that change therapies were damaging and unethical.

I have already blogged about Peter Tatchell’s inconsistent views on the causes of homosexuality and now turn my attention to Michael King.

Michael King (pictured) is professor of psychiatry at University College London (UCL) and is head of the UCL mental health sciences unit which specialises in ‘psychiatric epidemiology, molecular genetics, health services research and randomised trials of complex treatments in primary and secondary health care’.

He also chairs the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Special Interest Group which has advised the College on its Social Inclusion Report and its submission to the Church of England Listening Exercise on Human Sexuality. King was lead author of this latter submission. His website was set up in 2008 as a discussion forum but appears to have attracted little interest.

King’s views have been extraordinarily influential and his submission to the Church of England is widely quoted.

The British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) makes reference to it in its September 2012 statement of ethical practice and, according to the Guardian, has written to its 30,000 members saying that it is unethical for them to attempt to ‘convert’ gay people to being heterosexual.

The UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), representing training organisations and over 7,500 individual therapists, has welcomed the BACP’s stance and in fact issued a similar statement in 2011.

The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) - a regional branch of the WHO - released a similar statement in May 2012 claiming that ‘therapies’ to change sexual orientation ‘lack medical justification and represent a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people’.

King’s argument at the debate went as follows:

He first asked if homosexuality was a condition that needed treatment and said that it had been removed from the Diagnostic Screening Manual of mental health conditions (DSM III) in 1973 ending ‘millennia of prejudice, stigma and oppression’.

He then said that we did not know the cause of homosexuality (contrary to Tatchell’s ‘new’ view) but that it ‘had nothing to do with a person’s relationship to their father’.

He added that there was no evidence, in terms of randomised controlled trials, showing that change therapies worked and that all published studies purporting to show their effectiveness fell below this ‘gold standard’.

He concluded, on the basis of his first three points, that the use of change therapies was unethical.

He then turned to the question of whether those offering change therapy should be free to practise, and argued that all the relevant professional organisations (RCPsych, BACP and UKCP) had issued warnings about change therapies and did not accept them.

Finally he asked whether patients should be free to seek change therapy and said that this question was being raised in the context of a homophobic culture. People who wanted to reduce same sex desire should be able to pursue this but ‘did not need to rush to psychotherapists to do it’.

So in summary he argued that change therapies were ineffective, harmful, unethical and should not be allowed.

I was unable to get a question in to King during the plenary (I had used my one allowed question on Tatchell earlier!) so I asked King afterwards if there were randomised controlled trials which showed that change therapies were harmful or that showed gay affirmative therapies were effective.

He said there were not, but that there were cases studies and series of cases showing this.

I reminded him that there were also cases studies and series of cases showing that some change therapies were helpful for some people. He did not deny this (see CMF’s publication ‘Unwanted same Sex Attraction').

I then asked if he was applying a double standard by approving ‘gay affirmative’ therapies on the basis of case studies alone but barring change therapies (for which there were also supportive case studies) on the different basis that there were no randomised controlled trials supporting them.

He seemed unable to answer this question.

I then asked him if he was being less than fully transparent in his presentation of the evidence and less than even-handed in suggesting that change therapies should be banned whilst gay affirmative therapies supported. Again there was no real answer.

I then said to King that I actually agreed with him that some ‘change therapies’ were harmful and that some ‘therapists’ were not properly trained but that I could not see why people, like those whose case histories I outlined above, should not in a free society have access to professional accredited therapists who were in sympathy with their values.

I still fail to understand why change therapists are free to practise in the US and Canada under the auspices of their professional bodies but not in the UK. It seems to be primarily because of the actions of people like King.

Oh and one other thing. I was interested to listen in on King’s heated exchange with another questioner after the debate. Here he was turning from science to theology.

He said he was a ‘Christian’ and had been in a monogamous gay partnership for 30 years. He added that ‘Jesus said nothing about homosexuality’ and asked why God would have any objection to permanent monogamous gay partnerships. He said that he went to a ‘wonderfully inclusive church’ in Bayswater which welcomed him and that evangelical Christians were obsessed with sex.

I wondered if King's passionately held convictions about Christianity and his own life-style choices had had any influence on his reading and presentation of the evidence and why he had not declared any of these personal interests in his scientific writings on therapies for unwanted same sex attraction.

I also wondered why he and others were so determined to drive anyone offering change therapy from the public square.

Later that day I attended a fascinating talk which went through King’s submission to the Church of England in some detail arguing that he had misinterpreted and misrepresented the scientific papers he had quoted. King had been personally invited to attend this presentation but had opted not to.

I will return to that paper in more detail later.


  1. Thanks for the work you are doing Peter.

  2. Thanks for this expose of Michael King.
    I have further evidence of his unethical behaviour towards research in this area.

  3. Isn't it interesting that those who speak out so vehemently about tolerance are so often those who show intolerance towards those who hold differing opinions...


  4. << He said he was a ‘Christian’

    Why do you put that in quotes? Gay folk are no more sinners than the rest of us.

    So why is he not allowed to be a christian (*without* the quotation marks) just like the rest of us sinners?

    Far better, imo, to be a gay christian than a gay atheist. No?

    1. The word 'Christian' is in quote marks because King defines it differently from Jesus and the Apostles.

    2. He is advocating a permanent manner of living - like being a lover of money, and suggesting that God is equally happy with this outlook in an affluent society - that it is culturally determined; but we should remember that the lover of money hates God.

    3. I don’t know of any passage in the Bible in which either Jesus or an Apostle defines the meaning of the word ‘Christian’.

    4. 'Christian' means disciple of Christ (see Acts 11:26). Jesus and the apostles make it very clear what this means.


    5. Precisely, William.

      Peter - you sound smugly judgemental when you describe people as "christians" within quotes. If people are to be judged based on their lifestyles, rather than their belief in Christ, no doubt neither you nor I will fulfil the biblical definition of 'christian'.

      Are you telling us you have never committed a sin? Never looked at a woman you weren't married to? Never lusted after someone you couldn't have? Never been nasty to someone when you should have been nice? Never failed to help someone in need? I have done all of those things, and although I managed not to succumb to temptation (as regards women), I am very well aware that I am a sinner, and it is only God's grace that prevents me committing worse sins than I already do (plenty there to go on, unfortunately).

      So when you condemn someone as "not christian" just because they indulge in a homosexual lifestyle, you are being incredibly self-righteous. The sin of homosexuality is surely no worse than the sins you and I commit every single day of our lives.

    6. James

      There is a diffence between a liar and someone who tells occasional lies. The liar will not inherit.

    7. Jesus defines a Christian as one who is born again, elsewhere defined as one who has had their heart of stone removed & replaced with a heart of flesh.

      A Christian is one who follows Christ, who said that marriage is between a man and a woman, not a man and man or woman and woman. Whether it is 'monogamous' is an irrelevance.

      A Christian church is never inclusive, it can never accept all but must be exclusive in its relation to God and His people whilst rejecting sin.

      Paul, in describing those He is writing to in 1 Corinthians 6 speaks of what they were, what sins they committed, and clearly points out that some were once homosexuals but are no longer. To continue in a homosexual lifestyle is as wrong as it is to continue in a lifestyle that involves stealing.


  5. And by the way, why does a woman need to be "happily married with children" to want change therapy? Doesn't her marriage count if she doesn't have children? What if she's unhappily married without children?

    Surely the important fact here is that she's married, and therefore any relationship outside of that marriage would be adultery?

    Even if she was attracted to another *man*, she should try and resist, shouldn't she?

    1. Yes of course but this was just an example of a person who might seek change therapy.

  6. Peter, you're a very clear thinker. Like a lawyer in a doctor's body. Brilliant stuff!

  7. One can hardly describe his work as neutral - in an area thar is highly politicised. I am amazed. His own choices say what he thinks and he has therefore a natural bias.

    It it a bit like the chairman for the Nobel prize for medecine awarding his own team the prize - and rubbish those who form a different view.

    This was not disclosed to the Anglican Community. He was presented as a neutral expert witness - he nothing of the sort.

    He is a hostile witness.

  8. I have had conversations with Dr King - he told me that I was not cured of my homosexuality because I was not married! Like Peter Saunders I have aasked him for evidence that gay affirmative therapies are safe - he could give me no research. Yet he, the UKCP, BACP and others (usually because of King's influence) see no problem ethically in forcing clients to go through a therapy that has no evidence for its safety or success that they do not want.

    As to his claim of a monogamous relationship, I have asked him whether either he or his "partner" has regularly had sex with another man during that period. No answer, except to question why I was asking him. When I explained the difference in research, which he admitted knowing between a heterosexual monogamous relationship (no sexual partners outside of the couple) and a homosexual one (between six and twelve sexual partners in six months - depending on the research) he just told me that I would have to accept that they were monogamous by their standards.

    As to the fact that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality, he also said nothing about paedophilia or bestiality but that does not mean they are ok.

    1. Yes Jesus, although not mentioning homosexuality specifically, very clearly upheld the Old Testament teaching on marriage and sexuality and the apostles, who spoke very clearly about homosexuality, did so with his authority.

      King told me that he was strictly monogamous but said he could not speak for his 'partner'.

    2. Of course the pharasee's problem was being a lover of money - not homosexuality, so is it surprising Jesus never mentioned it - whereas Paul did encounter it in public amongst the greeks - and therefore was an issue for the body of christ in Corinth, for example; they had not been told not to lie with a man as a man lies with a woman. A man who lay with a man in Jewish culture would not need to be told twice, as it should be evident to the least scientific that God had designed him anatomically for something else - and that a man lying with a man would not bring God glory, unlike the pagan greeks. And for those Christian's who advocate a neo-darwin view of creation - that God is not actively involved (and therefore didnt design our sexual organs), you have to say that the omnipotent God of the universe is leaving a lot to chance that we would have eyes to see and ear to hear and minds to understand to bring Him glory.

    3. Phelim, according to Wikipedia, “Gay affirmative psychotherapy is a form of psychotherapy for gay and lesbian clients which encourages them to accept their sexual orientation, and does not attempt to change them to heterosexual, or to eliminate or diminish same-sex desires and behaviors.” Since being gay is not an illness or disorder, and since you have yourself said, “I don’t think there’s anything bad about being gay” (BBC, The Big Questions, 2009), what is the need for research into the safety of such therapy? What research has there been into the safety of therapy which encourages heterosexual clients to accept their sexual orientation and does not attempt to change them to homosexual, or to eliminate or diminish opposite-sex desires and behaviors? None that I am aware of.

      As for FORCING clients to go through gay affirmative therapy, I have never heard of a case where this has happened.

    4. Gay affirmation. You mean it involves brainwashing. Why do they reject the orientation? Some would say because of homophobia, even internal. Others might say, that God is working on their concience to get them into the light, or simply unable to live that way.

      They are asked to live with what they have got and not loved because of the agenda of people like Professor King, who are paid to do a job to serve the people and have chosen to love themselves and their own ideas of what it means to live and consequently their own political agenda. The last thing he wants is reparative therapy because it diminishes what he himself lives, and serving the interests of those other people who love money.

      I can imagine that it is psychologically distressing for a Christian who has an orthodox reading of the bible, and is told that this is how you must live and their only problem is their own inability to accept who they are because of society's rejection of the behavior.

      They will allow you therapy in support of being celibate, but not actually to live for God, who gave you your sexual anatomy in the first place.

      I always find it odd as a Christian with what some would call bisexual feelings, that I am to accept as a moral equvalence anal penetration with a man and normal sexual intercourse with a women, as I have an orthodox view of the bible. I am asked to believe that I am holy when I do either within the context of marriage. Well I have not the faith for such a belief.

      A bishop had the nerve to tell me it was God's blessing on me. I find it easier to believe God had given my thoughts over to this, than He actually intended me to glorify Him living this way with a man. I can accept that I am this way through my falleness, but not His good design. I have considered it my thorn in the side, which the Lord asks me to endure. It is not a great burden, compared to the crosses that my Christian brothers often carry for their Lord's glory.

      William - get real. I suspect it is not an illness because people like Professor King were the ones making the decision - often it is the homosexual doctor who is drawn to work in this area. It is a bit like a panel of mental patients deciding that mental illness was no longer an illness.

    5. Anonymous, homosexuality is no longer classified as an illness because there is no valid reason for regarding it as one. What people believe and how they live their lives are matters for them to decide. As the late Sir Oliver Lodge noted, the essence of manhood is to be, for better, for worse, free.

      If some homosexual people choose to cling to the belief that their natural sexual orientation is somehow “wrong” or “broken”, and to waste away their lives in a futile attempt to reject or change it, instead of coming to terms with it, then that is entirely up to them. They are perfectly free, at their discretion, to seek “reparative therapy”, just as they are free to go to a chiromantist to have their hand read, to consult an astrologer for advice on planning their future, or to call in a clairvoyant to read their tea-leaves. However, to complain because mainstream psychiatry declines to approve useless “therapy” for a non-illness is as absurd as it would be to complain because the British Medical Association declines to endorse Christian Science healing.

    6. It seems your starting point is that God is not living therefore man knows best.

      You need to read the politics of the APA decision in the US. You need to read the scientific papers - I trained in science, so I am not the ignorant man you may think.

      The reality is that God is living. The reality is he changed mine. You may call me a liar. You do not know me. But I do know what He is like.

      In what sense is it natural if they dont understand the specific causes. For example a distortion of the subconcious does not mean God expects me to live that way. (we really understand so little of the sub-concious.

      You talk about clairvoyant in a mocking way with tea leaves, and therefore you dont believe in the true prophetic Holy Spirit of God. As that is the case, you cannot believe in Jesus because He was prophesied. I have experienced and seen miracles. For example I saw a blind man receive sight at a missionary service in India. Christians have experienced many many miracles, even today.

      The bible would say you are blind, but you think you see. Romans 1:22 "Claimimg to be wise, they became fools,and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things" And in the 21st Century what man has idolised is himself.

      There are in fact many peoples lives blight by this. They have not succumbed to the brainwashing.

      YOu will say that is rubbish, and I can only say that as an unbeliever you see things differently. The bible would say you are blind, but He can still open your eyes. I pray that He does.

      Nothing is impossible for God, who raised his Son from the dead. No doubt you dont believe that- but that is the starting point of faith.

    7. One wonders what Professor King - had he lived in the first century - would have made if his friend had said that he saw a man turn water into wine, and he was raised from being dead 3 days.

      I dont expect Professor King believes in any miracles. My experience is that people do not believe in change because of unbelief or theological reasoning, to the point that some will say - you included no doubt, God has never changed anyone (they think they have been gifted with omnicience), because He would never change any one. Really? Who says so?

      I dont say it happens always - or even often, and I know some completely celibate godly men, who live for God, who see no change (nor have sought it). How difficult is it for God to straighten out a kink in your subconscious, and already promises to renew your mind. But God is sovereign.

      The greatest gift He has given Me is faith in His Son, who died for me because of His love.

    8. William

      Take the example sometimes cited as a possible cause -one of many - of hormone levels in the womb, influencing development. But abnormal hormonal levels are also cited as the cause of many other conditions, and behavioral issues. Yet I have heard people say that is why tehy are gay: did they measure the feotal hormone levels in this individual - no they did not, but it provided an answer she was happy with, but why is that not just part of our fallen nature. As Christians were are asked to live out of the Spirit , not the carnal life.

    9. “No miracles can attest a revelation. We must judge of its truth by the light which is in us.”
      So wrote the historian Frank Podmore in 1897. I entirely agree with him. But let us, for the sake of argument, concede the possibility that Podmore was wrong and proceed on that premiss. What then?
      Well, if I find a revelation convincing on its own merits, then any miracle in attestation of it is superfluous; it is a sheer waste of supernatural energy. If, however, I am sceptical of the purported revelation as it stands, but a miracle can convince me of its truth, then one which is merely reported to me by someone else, or which is recounted in a book, will be useless for the purpose. A miracle which is alleged to have occurred, but which I am denied the privilege of witnessing for myself, is simply an extra thing for me to disbelieve.

    10. What words of scripture do you believe William.

      You cite Frank Podmore - ironically he was a psychic - in other words a clairvoyant (who you mocked) so you believe him but not the word of God - Podmore was listening to the spirits of the world rather than God. A Christian checks what is said by the Spirit against the Word of God which reveals His ways and His character, rather than the deceiving spirits in the world - or as Frank Podmore said his own internal light.

      The resurrection is central to Christian faith - the faith is generated by hearing the word of God, and God Himself reveals and confirms to a believer that His word is true. So I dont need to have seen the resurrection to know that it is true, but can acccept the testimonies as true. And I therefore know He is living. I seem Him working in peoples lives - some who have been far from God, like me. This just increases my faith more.

      God Bless you William

    11. I regard Podmore’s point as perfectly valid, and I continue to concur with it. And by the way, it would do you no harm to get your facts right. Podmore was NOT a psychic or clairvoyant; he was a psychical researcher, which is quite a different thing, and a highly critical and sceptical one.

  9. Nice dissection.

  10. What you write about Michael King seems to suggest that he is a classic case of ideology masquerading as science.
    Is he aware of the recent Jones/Yarhouse study 'Ex-gays?' which was a prospective, longitudinal and representative study with a sufficiently large number of individuals who wanted to change, ie reduce their unwanted same-sex attractions and who attended various groups associated with the Exodus ministry. A significant proportion of individuals noted a change away from same-sex attractions. interestingly enough, rather than finding 'harm' there was a shift towards less emotional distress.

    re Phelim: 'I have had conversations with Dr King - he told me that I was not cured of my homosexuality because I was not married!' - what a terrible argument! some Christians in Exodus I met state that the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality but holiness! I think that this is a wise statement.

  11. Rosengarten - it is not only this study he ignored, but a very large body of mainstream reseach (even as much as half) that looks at enviromental factors, including the effect of emotional abuse - but that would raise the akward ethical question of what support they give such people, and that the people are suffering from a damaged sexuality, rather than a normally functioning sexuality. Even if there were biological causes, amongst others,that does not in itself mean that body is functioning normally.

    Professor King now admits he does not know what causes it - well how then can he make any assessment of it? He cannot and he should be honest in that.

  12. Jesus did allude to homosexuality when he spoke of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha for their unrepentance. When Jesus sent out the Twelve on a mission he told them to heal the sic, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. He told them that if anybody did not receive them or listen to their words, they were to leave, and that 'it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha than for that town.' Matthew 10: 15.

    Then when talking about the Second Coming of the Son of man, he says it will be sudden. He says that it would be like the coming of the Flood in the days of Noah, and like when Lot went out from Sodom fire and sulphur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. That's in Luke 17: 26-30.

    Note that in this passage, while Jesus says that in the days of Noah, people 'married and were given in marriage', he does not say this of 'the days of Lot'. Why? Because according to Genesis, there were no men left in the land to marry Lot's daughters (Lot was still alive). Why? They had turned to sodomy!
    The men of Sodom wanted sexual relations with the angels entertained by Lot, not with women. They were filled with pride and arrogance and refused to accept their place in the divinely created hierarchy of creation. They could not have procreated children with the angels, unlike with women. Failing that they presumably turned to each other. This is what Paul is alluding to in Romans 1 - how men exchanged the glory of the immortal God for 'images resembling mortal man'. Angels resemble mortal men in appearance.

    This is why those of us Christians who are praying today for marriage in the UK are praying. We are praying for God to spare Britain from judgment, as Abraham did for Sodom.

    1. I don’t for one moment suppose that the story of Sodom is history; it is an ancient Jewish legend, and an amoral one at that. But if you are going to cite it, you should at least do so accurately. The account in Genesis does NOT say that there were no men left in the land to marry Lot’s daughters because they had turned to “sodomy”. On the contrary, we are told that his daughters were engaged to be married to two men of the city (Gen 19:14). The sexual crime of the people of Sodom (just one of their crimes) was the attempted mass rape of the angelic visitors. We are not told anything at all about any consensual gay relationships in the city.

      In Romans 1 Paul makes no mention of Sodom. He apparently thought that homosexuals were people who had abandoned their former heterosexual practices and had redirected their libido towards their own sex, and that this was a punishment inflicted on them for turning away from the worship of God to the worship of images of mortal man, birds, quadrupeds and reptiles (Rom. 1:22-23). I am not aware of knowing anyone whose sexual history this describes.

    2. William - I did watch a secular program that reconstructed the disapperance of a building with simulated earthquake with ground conditions like Sodom within around 10 minutes to seek to explain Sodom, but I do agree that it doesnt cast any light on consensual relations, though it is set down as a warning against sexual immorality (and hatred of God, one imagines) in Jude. God has not said these activities are in His light. Clearly you cant believe that it is history if you dont believe in angels or God. But if you watched last night's Songs of Praise their was a beautiful testimony of a car crash victim saved by an angel.

      I am curious why you think the story is amoral (moral neutral - or did you mean immoral: because Lot ordered his daughters to sacrifice themselves to save an attempted humiliation of God and His angels (christians have volunteered themselves for equally bad things for the love of christ), or because God has brought judgement on men who were by any reasonable standard simply not living, but dead in their sin - godless men who never loved anything but money (it is not that God killed them - they were already dead in eyes of GOd becasue they had no love). It is actually about love and the holiness of God.

      As for Roman 1, you can easily make a case same-sex couples are worshipping idols: not only themselves (my best friend is a preening peacock and loving money since he has come out) but have also made an idol of the relationship, rather than obeying God.

    3. I called the story of Sodom amoral because it seems quite unconcerned with morals. Lot – although 2 Peter 2:8 refers to him as “a righteous man” – offers his own virgin daughters to be raped in place of the angels. God then supposedly destroys a whole city, including the women and children, and when Lot’s wife dares to look back at the fireworks she is turned into a pillar of salt. After they take refuge in a cave, that “righteous man” Lot then gets drunk and deflowers those same virgin daughters himself. How anyone can think of getting any morality out of this legend is a mystery to me.

      Romans 1 – if indeed Paul is here talking about homosexuality in general, as those who cite it in condemnation of homosexuality always insist that he is – suggests that the worship of idols is the CAUSE of homosexuality, which is clearly untenable. If you think that you can easily make a case that same-sex couples are worshipping idols and have also made an idol of the relationship, then you can just as easily make a case that mixed-sex couples are worshipping idols and have also made an idol of the relationship. And the case in both instances is equally unconvincing.

    4. It does reveal something of GOd - which gives hope to us - GOd was willing willing to rescue and call repentance a fallen man like Lot.

      The text in Romans 1 reads, to me, as if God actually gives your mind over. Clearly God can do that - like hardening a man's heart. Of course that does not mean it is the sole cause, as we have a fallen nature - everything else gets damaged - so why not sexuality


    5. William,

      >> I am not aware of knowing anyone whose sexual history this describes.

      I am astonished by this statement. There are numerous examples of lifelong hetero-sexuals who have, suddenly and inexplicably, fallen in love with a person of the same sex - the actress Anne Hecht was one, and Cynthia Nixon (who plays Miranda, in Sex and the city) was another. Cynthia Nixon angered gay rights activists when she said that she had "chosen" to be gay.

      In real life, I know of a couple of happily married heterosexual blokes who fell in love with men. And there have been newspaper reports of gay men who have fallen in love with, and married, women.

      Are you a doctor, William? A christian, or a "christian atheist" (you say you doubt the historicity of Sodom - I believe there is archaeological evidence for not just Sodom, but many of the lost cities described in the OT)?

    6. There are people whose sexual orientation has apparently changed of its own accord, although we don't know how or why this happens. It happens more often in women, far more seldom in men. I don't know of anyone whose orientation has changed as a result of worshipping images of mortal man, birds, quadrupeds and reptiles.

  13. William - it is worth reading the critique of the submission by Professor King, now on Anglican Mainstream. I am surprised that the Professor alludes to the largely genetic impact. This is somewhat surprising as latest sudies show their is no gene and the hereditable component is small - significantly less than anger. Also as for hormones, no insitu studies can have been carried out- so its more of a theory.

    He makes assertions as if they were facts - that is not science. When you look at the underlying papers you not see the same boldness that Professor King makes - they hypothesise rather than prove, often based on small sample sizes, which no actual proven biological mechanism - merely theories.

    He also excludes a whole body of research - which is like excluding all the data points that dont suit your own purpose, and speak against your agenda. That is not science, that is a social agenda. Professor King was loving himself and his friends - not producing the balanced scientific document it purported to be.

    If they dont understand the mechanisms they are hardly in a position to say what can happen. He has said it is all genes and hormones - well that does not reflect the broad consesus, and is bad science.

    1. He suggests possible explanantions and presents them as fact(suggesting there are no other models or mechanisms) and exludes all other research, where therapy can possibly take place.

    2. I agree that we don’t know the cause(s) of homosexuality. We don’t know the cause(s) of heterosexuality either. No homosexual gene has been discovered, nor has any heterosexual gene. It is now generally agreed that if any genetic factors are involved, they will almost certainly not be traceable to a single gene. No actual proven biological mechanism for either homosexuality or heterosexuality has been discovered – merely theories. “What determines sexual orientation?” is a perfectly valid academic question to which it would be extremely interesting to know the answer, but at present the only valid answer is that we don’t know for certain; all that we have for now are various opinions. What we do know is that people do not choose their sexual orientation and that, even if in exceptional cases it mysteriously changes spontaneously, deliberate attempts to change it are invariably futile. Perhaps we shall discover the answer to our questions about causation in the fullness of time; then again, perhaps we shan’t. In the meantime, gay people, like straight people, can get on with living happy and productive lives without knowing what has caused their orientation.

    3. Yet Professor King dismisses enviromental factors despite the numberous papers. That is alright if he does so on scientific grounds,with critiques of the research but there are many able research teams who produce valid research that says otherwise. He simply ignores the research, and probably does not have the practical research skills to do so.

      The moral question is whether it is desirable to actually act on the desires. Science cannot answer that question. Perhaps the spontaneous changes come from God. However that in its self raises questions --as Professor King would have us believe that it is genetic/hormonal and thus irreversible - clearly that is not true. Professor King does not like it that someone seeks change.

  14. Given how socially political this has been for 30 years, can we really get unbiased science.

    I imagine investigating and theorising about the cause of homosexuality has very few people working in the field, and fairly unpopular with people (better to study cancer)except those who are gay, who may be blinkered by their own wishful thinking.

    It might be interesting to correlate the postive views and sexual orientation of the researchers - is there a hidden, even unconscious natural bias.

    We heard for years there was a gay gene, and this now discounted by independent research.

  15. When you look at the quality of the papers cited that supposedly support an exclusive biolgical causation, and find some of them do no such thing - you can infer that the paper cited such poor quality evidence because there is none other available.

    It is ironic that publish a scientific paper in a reputable scientific journal involves unbiased peer review by experts working in the field, and substantiated by repetion by other researchers, who have reviewd the basis for the study (that is why latest twin studies have rejected a gene, as well as mapping of the genome). It is difficult to see how the paper from the Royal college has such a guard to ensure its validity. The Royal college have failed a basic standard of good science, that would not be accepted by the scientific community and should not have been accepted by the church.


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