Friday, 19 February 2010

Today's Battle

Actually one of many. I don't have time to document them all, I'm rather busy with PhD work.

Over at the New American :
Is the APA Playing Politics With Sexual Disorder Definition?
Dr. George Rekers, a professor of neuropsychiatry and behavioral science at the University of South Carolina medical school, told that, like its earlier decision to delete homosexuality from its list of sexual disorders, the APA is once again caving in to political pressure. “I think they are bowing to activist groups to downplay the actual psychopathology involved by just calling it gender incongruence,” he said. “They don’t want to go back to put homosexuality as the disorder. Now it looks like they’re backpedaling on Gender Identity Disorder.”
My reply:
Rekers... where have I heard that name before?
Rekers... Rekers... Oh yes...
In January 2005, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Timothy White ... called Rekers' testimony "extremely suspect." He also accused Rekers of testifying solely for promoting his "own personal agenda."
And there's this:
Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Cindy Lederman ... said "Dr. Rekers’ testimony was far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence. Dr. Rekers’ beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science. Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court can not consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy."

Lederman may have been put off by the fact that Rekers said based on "research," a case could be made for banning Native Americans from adopting children

I think there might just be more credible sources. Though they wouldn't fit your pre-conceived Lede, would they? You have to rely on crackpots eccentric witnesses, because they're the only ones that support your eccentric ideas.

You must have gone to a lot of trouble to find one that told you what you wanted to hear. Unfortunately, his notoriety as the archetypical unreliable "expert" precedes him, even in Australia.
Compare and contrast with this exchange from Slate:
Will Saletan
Update: Zoe, thank you for these cites. I've forwarded them to Dr. George Brown, one of the three expert witnesses (he testified for O'Donnabhain), and asked whether the court's description of his testimony ("The experts all agree and the Court accepts, for purposes of deciding this case, that no organic or biological cause of GID has been demonstrated") is accurate. He indicates that it is not. I've contacted O'Donnabhain's attorney to request a copy of his testimony.

I may have some crow to eat on this one. Let me see what the testimony says.

Zoe Ellen Brain

"You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right."

Crow-eating not required. You gave an honest opinion based on the facts available to you, and when apparently new facts came in, started checking those and re-evaluating your position. You may not find the new facts sufficiently persuasive. That's not the point: the point is that you're honestly trying to find out what the situation actually is.

"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" - John Maynard Keynes
Another quote from Keynes:
There is no harm in being sometimes wrong — especially if one is promptly found out. - Essays in Biography (1933)
Thank goodness, or I'd be in real trouble.

1 comment:

edith said...

Hi Zoe,

Here we go again. Since I live in the U S, I am very concerned that the reasoning behind the O'Donnabhain decision is going to come back to haunt people who are born transsexual.

"All three expert witnesses agreed that, absent treatment, GID in genetic males is sometimes associated with autocastration, autopenectomy,. . ."

This is only one of what I consider to be problematic characterizations of transsexualism.

Harry Benjamin said that only four out of one hundred fifty-two patients tried to do that. Three of those who did did it as a way to force treatment for themselves, hardly a compulsive motivation to mutilate their body as someone such as this person from Slate would understand it. Of course, there is also the seemingly cut and dried misunderstandings engendered by the expression "genetic male" to describe every person that undergoes medical treatment for transsexualism.

Transsexual treatments are much more extensive than the surgeries that are the focus of this article. One who undergoes them has their whole endocrinology altered and thereby a good portion of their total being - psyche, skin texture fat distribution, sex drive, etc.

Before one even gets to the subject of pre-existing variations in a transsexual person one should consider that this case seems to do little but present the matter as one of treatments to alleviate a compulsive desire to alter one's bodily appearance to prevent a person from harming themselves.

People, men in particular, seem to be preoccupied with protrusions on the human body without having any comprehension of the complexities of endocrinology.