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June 02, 2007

Surgeon General nominee wants to "cure" gays

As part of his ongoing war on science and reason, Bush nominated James W. Holsinger for the post of Surgeon General last week.

BarbinMD has some fun facts about the man who could be America's next top doc:

– Holsinger founded Hope Springs Community Church, which “ministers to people who no longer wish to be gay or lesbian.” Holsinger said that he sees homosexuality as “an issue not of orientation but of lifestyle.” [Lexington Herald-Leader, 6/1/07]

– In serving on the United Methodist Judicial Council — the “court” that resolves “disputes involving church doctrine and policies in the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination” — Holsinger “opposed a decision to allow a practicing lesbian to be an associate pastor, and he supported a pastor who would not permit an openly gay man to join the church.” [Lexington Herald-Leader, 6/1/07]

– In the early 1990s, Holsinger resigned from the United Methodist Church’s Committee to Study Homosexuality “because he believed the committee ‘would follow liberal lines.’” He also warned “that acceptance of homosexuality would drive away millions of churchgoers.” [Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 5/26/07; Time, 6/24/91]

Frank Lockwood of Bible Belt Blogger reports:

When surgeon general nominee Dr. James Holsinger was serving on the board of the Confessing Movement of the United Methodist Church, the board issued a statement accusing the "radical homosexual/lesbian lobby" and those who support homosexuality of precipitating "a crisis in the United Methodist Church."

Dr. Holsinger also served as the medical director of the Department of Veterans Affairs under the former president Bush. During his tenure the department was forced to accept blame for the deaths of six veterans in a large VA hospital:

"Mistakes were made," said the Veterans Affairs Secretary, Edward J. Derwinski. "The medical care was clearly not what it should be."

The agency's announcement came a week after department investigators questioned poor supervision and delays between diagnosis and surgery, among other things.

After an extensive review of 15 deaths between June 1989 and March 1990, the agency acknowledged blame in six, said Dr. James Holsinger Jr., the agency's chief medical officer.

Dr. Holsinger and an agency spokeswoman, Donna St. John, said they would not discuss the six deaths that were linked to poor care until family members were notified.

The agency said it would invite the families to meet with its lawyers to discuss a financial settlement. [NYT]

A date for Holsinger's confirmation hearings has not yet been set.
   

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Comments

It must have been nice back in the 50s, when men were men and women were women and homos didn't exist. Must be even nicer in Iran, for that matter...I'm sure there are no gay people there.

"Satinover is a crank who believes in the Bible code. Do you have any overview of the Laumann study that is written by someone who deserves to be taken seriously?"

I have heard this dismissal of Satinover before. I hope you dont really subscribe to it. Just because someone writes a book on something hardly means he's a "crank". Numerology is an ancient practice, Satinover simply ran computer models on the practice and deduced that this ancient practice actually yields predictable & consistent results.

The man is a extremely intelligent, well educated (to say the least) and respected "gadfly" - In that he is willing to take on topics (like numerology or homosexual politics) that others are afraid to approach because they are considered taboo.

If you read his work you will find multiple sources to independent scientific and academic support for his findings. The Luaman study itself is what directly confirms his thesis.

"It must have been nice back in the 50s, when men were men and women were women and homos didn't exist. Must be even nicer in Iran, for that matter...I'm sure there are no gay people there."

This is unfair.

This original post concerned a well qualified appointment for the post of surgeon general. Lindsay hoped to slander said appointee merely from the fact that he has moral objections to parts of the homosexual agenda.

I was merely pointing out that multiple independent scientific sources exist that affirm the veracity of that worldview.

I don’t call people "homos" & they did "exist" in the 1950's. They also had a degree of discretion and had yet to be radicalized in the ethos of the 1960's.

Human sexuality is a complex and delicate matter. I find the politicized dogmatism of the left to be anti-intellectual, ill-liberal, and un-democratic. It avers free inquiry in the name of ideological solidarity.


They also had a degree of discretion

It's called the closet. Lives spent in denial, self-loathing and abject fear. Which in your view is apparently just what they deserved.

I could introduce you to any number of gay men and lesbians who came of age in those days of "discretion," whose "social milieu" consisted of verbal abuse and physical violence, as well living under constant threat of arrest, firing, eviction, and promises of "treatment" at the hands of cranks dedicating to "curing" them of their "pathology." The APA at the time was most emphatically not on their side, nor was the Supreme Court.

And you know what, Fitz? None of this living hell turned a goddamn one of them straight. It made a lot of them miserable, but it didn't make them straight. So much for your defense of quackery.

Your aside about "discretion" is welcome, though. In the past, when people have confronted you about just what kind of world you want to see, you've had this tendency to shrink from mighty culture warrior to mewling chickenshit: It's not up to me to decide these things, it's up the culture, society as a whole, blah blah blah. But today, you've finally taken a step closer to saying what you think: With time, gay people are getting closer to being able to live happy, more or less normal lives in this country, and that's bad. Things were better when 99 times out of 100, being gay meant being miserable, and I wish we could return to those days.

Glad we could clear that up.

Numerology is an ancient practice, Satinover simply ran computer models on the practice and deduced that this ancient practice actually yields predictable & consistent results.

Right. And other people ran computer models and deduced that astrology works.

The Bible Code is crankery. You can run computer models on any suitable book written in a language like Hebrew, where almost any combination of three or four letters is a word. The best proof that it's crankery is the result of a follow-up research a team of skeptics did about the study cited in Drosnin's The Bible Code. The skeptics' starting point was that the words used in the original study could've been spelled in several different ways, and that it tried several variants until it got the right results; they then proceeded to show that in fact the number of variants used was exactly the one that was necessary to produce results of its level of statistical significance in a random text.

If you read his work you will find multiple sources to independent scientific and academic support for his findings. The Luaman study itself is what directly confirms his thesis.

I will, if you give direct links. I can't think of a single study with social or political significance that I first saw referenced on a blog and that didn't turn out to be shoddy when I proceeded to actually read it. What I can do is can quote off hand a lot that did, and even give you links to posts on my old blog refuting them.

If you want, I can debate the merits of individual pieces of research. But I've seen enough trash produced by people with impeccable credentials, and without any cranky hobbies like letter-skipping, to just trust someone at the mere mention of his name.

That also goes to your Moynihan quote. Different moralities disagree about not only what is moral and what is immoral, but also about what is moral/immoral and what doesn't matter. Judaism forbids pork while Christianity doesn't, but that doesn't mean Christianity defines beef and mutton as deviant.

Alon

First you misrepresent Satinover by saying
"Satinover is a crank who believes in the Bible code." a transparent attempt to
undermine his credibility.

You then go on to say.

"The Bible Code is crankery."

I suppose it is. I dont believe in Numerology either, but the book sounds like a fascinating and authoritative account of its history and the controversies it elicits.

(The following is from the dust jacket.)

"Cracking the Bible Code is the first fully-researched and fully-documented account of the codes--a story far more rich, strange and stunning, and with far more to tantalize both skeptics and enthusiasts than has yet anywhere been told. Dr. Jeffrey Satinover reveals the codes' fascinating past, counters recent sensational and inaccurate representations of the codes and explains both sides of the increasingly heated debate as to their authenticity. He clarifies their profound implications, should they prove real, for our view of God, faith and fate."


The man who wrote that book is not a "crank" and you cannot dismiss him as such. The book sounds like a fascinating and authoritative account of its history and the controversies it elicits. No were does Santiover say he himself subscribes to the validity of Numerology as a part of his belief system.

Fitz, this isn't a debate with two sides. It doesn't even rise to the level of geocentrism versus heliocentrism, which was an important scientific debate 400 years ago. Letter skipping and geocentrism are equally obviously wrong by the standards of today, but letter skipping is a 20th century novelty without any historical or scientific or even philosophical significance.

I reserve the right not to take seriously people who write books about the Holocaust that purport to present both sides, too.

I did not know that you were learned in the debates surrounding the "Bible Code" and have dismissed the entire discussion as below the human intellect.

“I reserve the right not to take seriously people who write books about the Holocaust that purport to present both sides, too.”

Once again you’re being anti-intellectual & ill-liberal. The Holocaust was an act of genocide, to purport to be morally neutral between the beliefs of the Nazi’s & the Allies would be a moral leap infinitely larger than the veracity of the Bible Code. You’re being sensationalistic.

Also: If one was to discuss the Holocaust intelligently one would need to present the worldview of both Nazi’s and average Germans if one was going to paint a portrait that made the history intelligible. In that sense one would present “both sides” – all of which says nothing about the authors moral stance. It would just be good scholarship.

“Superb history engagingly written…[T]he window it provides on Jewish intellectual life from the Middle Ages through the present is itself worth the price of the book.”

--William A. Dembski, mathematician, philosopher, and author of The Design Inference, Cambridge University Press


“That also goes to your Moynihan quote. Different moralities disagree about not only what is moral and what is immoral, but also about what is moral/immoral and what doesn't matter. Judaism forbids pork while Christianity doesn't, but that doesn't mean Christianity defines beef and mutton as deviant.”

I’m afraid you missed my point about the Moynihan quote. I’m sorry if the term deviant distracted you. In the sense the Senator uses “deviant”, it can mean any behavior considered socially destructive. Illegitimacy, divorce, gambling, or drunk driving and smoking.

My use of the quote was in response to Flavor Flavius Julianus accusation that I was sexually dysfunctional. This is indeed a prime example of whats necessary to “define deviancy down”
Here you have Flavius NOT simply “making the deviant the normal” – (i.e. advocating gay marriage) But the opposite and necessary flip side of the coin “making the normal deviant.” Attacking me as sexually dysfunctional ( a closet case) or Lindsay attacking James W. Holsinger as unfit for public office. Or you attacking a qualified intellectual as a “quack”

There are innumerable other recent examples of Moynihan’s dictum.. LINK.

I'm afraid we know our adversaries & know there modus vivendi.

My use of the quote was in response to Flavor Flavius Julianus accusation that I was sexually dysfunctional.

Fitz, you admitted to having "man-on-man urges"; you admitted to looking at porn; and you wrote that you "discerned a call to the priesthood." Except for thinking you should be a little less hard on yourself, I don't judge you at all.

Obviously any “admissions” I made were in Jest. It is a common theme to attack the sexuality of those who oppose the gay agenda (the whole point of the word homophobe)

My only substantive critique of your strange comments was never addressed by you. Try something other than ad-homonym attacks.

Fitz, Holocaust revisionists don't justify genocide; they deny that it even took place. Their stature in history is about the same as the stature of creationists in biology, and their tactics are identical - a lot of screams about how people are being biased and dogmatic and oppressive, without much evidence.

"Fitz, Holocaust revisionists don't justify genocide; they deny that it even took place. Their stature in history is about the same as the stature of creationists in biology, and their tactics are identical - a lot of screams about how people are being biased and dogmatic and oppressive, without much evidence."

And this has what to do with Dr Satinovers work on homosexuality, Numerology or any other topic.

OH- I see, now your left calling him a Nazi!

It has to do with the fact that on certain issues, presenting both sides as if they were equal is shoddy: the historicity of the Holocaust, evolution, letter-skipping, 9/11 conspiracy theories, the historicity of Stalin's crimes.

Yes Alon (and out of fear you have conflated)

"Holocaust, evolution, 9/11 conspiracy theories, the historicity of Stalin's crimes" with (something you call)"letter-skipping" as part of a discussion on the historical Jewish practice of Numerology.

I'm afraid Dr, Satinover cannot be dismnissed as an intellect or scientist because you dont like what he says.

He still retains his teaching post at Yale, and his work on Homosexuality is sited by numerous courts including the recent Washington DOMA decision.

We're talking about the same court that disregarded medical testimony and ruled that dilation and extraction is never medically necessary, right?

If you mean the Washington State Supreme Court, then Yes.

Just as the Supreme COurt of the United States just did...they ruled that Congress's fact finding on this issue supercedes their power of judicial Review.

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