Friday, 13 July 2012

Today's Battle

From the National Catholic Register

Posted by Charles O'Connel on Wednesday, Jul 4, 2012 12:21 PM (EST):

Regarding people who claim to speak with expertise & authority, I have been dismayed to hear, on an extremely prominent Catholic broadcast - one associated with this publication - two of the most major Catholic commentators (you would know their names), venturing very naive opinions on this subject. They should either take the time to become educated, or learn to avoid rash judgment by shutting up about it.

The author of this article is confirmed in her findings by a true expert, Dr. Paul McHugh, formerly psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, in his November 2004, “First Things” article “Surgical Sex”.

The first thing to consider, is that people who seek such extreme remedies, are responding, however incorrectly, to very real problems; they aren’t doing it on a lark, or to conform with fashion.

The whole history of sexual radicalism is one of such people being exploited by professional agitators who haven’t got their best interests at heart. The emphasis on compassion is the most important thing. In time, those who are really loving will be discovered & remembered.

Posted by Zoe Brain on Wednesday, Jul 4, 2012 7:46 PM (EST):

McHugh’s views are based entirely on ideology, not on evidence.

Think about it - his works on the subject are in political/religious journals, not medical/scientific ones. You see his article “Surgical Sex” constantly being quoted. Why? Because it’s the only one of its kind. A distinctly fringe, even crackpot, view. Unique. His tenure as head of psychiatry was “controversial” to say the least.

To repeat:

As Dr Paul McHugh admitted in his book “Psychiatric Misadventures”:

“This interrelationship of cultural antinomianism and a psychiatric misplaced emphasis is seen at its grimmest in the practice known as sex-reassignment surgery. I happen to know about this because Johns Hopkins was one of the places in the United States where this practice was given its start. It was part of my intention, when I arrived in Baltimore in 1975, to help end it. “
Verdict first, trial afterwards.
The bishops recently chose Dr. Paul McHugh, former chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, as chief behavioral scientist for their new clergy sex crimes review board. Yet Dr. McHugh once said Johns Hopkins’ Sexual Disorders Clinic, which treats molesters, was justified in concealing multiple incidents of child rape and fondling to police, despite a state law requiring staffers to report them.

We did what we thought was appropriate,” said Dr. McHugh, then director of Hopkins’ Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, which oversaw the sex clinic. He agreed with his subordinate, clinic head Fred Berlin, who broke the then-new child sexual abuse law on the grounds that it might keep child molesters from seeking treatment.

Dr. Berlin admitted he had covered for the sex criminals, angering legislators, child-advocacy groups and state officials. But his actions were not surprising, because “at least eight men have been convicted of sexually abusing Maryland children while under [Dr. Berlin’s] treatment there,” according to the March 23, 1988, issue of the Capital. Despite a 1990 Government Accounting Office study that found no therapy program that stopped sex offenders, Dr. Berlin said in 1994 that psychiatry can “effectively control” sex criminals.
McHugh still insists that there is no problem with paedophilia in the Church, that it’s all imaginary, and that the problem is under psychiatric control.
“McHugh’s actions…pose the deepest threat to the council’s credibility. McHugh is the only therapist on the lay council. This makes his participation especially significant, because other members may rely on his presumed expertise. Because he frequently testifies on behalf of accused molesters, doubts may be raised about the council’s desire to truly solve the problem.

McHugh…is the man whose report to the court in one case stated that a defendant’s harassing phone calls were not obscene – including the call that detailed a fantasy of a 4-year-old sex slave locked in a dog cage and fed human waste.

At least eight men have been convicted of sexually abusing Maryland children while under treatment at the “sex disorders” clinic McHugh runs at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine – abuse the doctors did not report, citing client confidentiality. When Maryland law was changed to require that doctors report child molestation, the clinic fought it and advised patients on how to get around the law. The memo to patients suggested that molesters report their pedophilic activities to their lawyers, who could in turn tell staff; attorney-client privilege would then protect the molesters from being reported. This memo was fully approved by the boss – Dr. Paul McHugh…
I think that even the most charitable view would call his judgement “questionable” at best. It’s not as if he has any evidence to back up his views.

What matters is not who has said something, but whether it’s true or not. However, if one is to ignore evidence, and rely on an “appeal to authority”, one had better make sure the authority is unimpeachable.

The Vatican, in all good faith, employed McHugh as their advisor on sexual matters. His psychiatric qualifications were impeccable (even if he lacked training in science, as was the fashion in the 50’s), his conservative politics eminently sound. The result of adopting his recommendations we all know about.

He hasn’t been involved with Transsexual treatment for over 30 years, his knowledge of the area firmly rooted in state-of-the-art theories from the 1950’s, and not updated since.


Anonymous said...

Well, having glanced over the post and some of the comments there… I'm happy that you are "out there" functioning as a champion for rational reasoning on this topic?

I certainly don't care to do so!

But I thought there's another source you might not have been aware of, relevant to the case of "Paul McHugh and the Church Catholic v. John Money and the Sexual Liberation Movement", which was what the power struggle at Johns Hopkins leading to the closing of the Gender Clinic there appears to have been all about... it's a critique of the famous study of "outcomes of transsexual surgery" by Meyer and Reter that McHugh used to justify closing the clinic, and Janice Raymond cited with relish…

The critique is devastating.

Methodological Problems in Assessing
Sex-Reassignment Surgery: A Reply to Meyer and Reter

M. Fleming, C. Steinman, G. Bocknek
Originally published as: Fleming M, Steinman C, Bocknek G (1980), Methodological Problems in Assessing. Sex-Reassignment Surgery: A Reply to Meyer and Reter. Arch. Sex. Behav. 9: 451-456., archived at .

I recently cited this critique in a dialog with a friend of mine on SRS outcomes, where she remarked that "objective measures" employed in some studies had found "no improvement" after surgery…

"You know what?
When doctors and suchlike perform this kind of "study"...
They make economists -look good-.
Wow, you could not find an economist as f*ing stupid as Meyer is. Anywhere.

And I am not ranked among the "fans" of economists. My point being, really, that an economist taking on such a job for purely mercenary incentives would at least be able to avoid "cooking the books" in such a blatantly ridiculous fashion?

Meyer and Reter's article Sex reassignment: Follow-up" is now available from The JAMA Network, with the article available for PDF download.

Anyway, thanks for shedding light in the dark spaces of the Internet… I feel great admiration for your tenacity in this endeavor.

- bonzie anne

Jennifer said...

"Verdict first, trial afterwards."

Yup, that pretty much sums it up.