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Response to the UK Government’s Intended Ban on Therapeutic Choice

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Authors: Mike Davidson PhD, Carys Moseley PhD, Christopher Rosik PhD

 

IT IS FRANKLY DISTURBING to witness how many social scientists and politicians are eager to do away with the painstaking process of viewpoint diverse scientific inquiry in order to achieve their desired policy goals. The UK governments proposal to ban so called “conversion therapy” is a tragic illustration of how low the threshold has become for what now constitutes sufficient scientific evidence to justify the abolition of rights for a maligned minority group — people who wish to explore with a therapist the fluidity of their same-sex attractions and behaviours in the context of determining their heterosexual potential.

From a genuinely humble and non-politicized scientific perspective, what has to be said about the research base referenced in the debate over sexual attraction fluidity exploration in therapy (SAFE-T) is that it is assuredly incomplete. It cannot credibly form the basis for public policy without the assistance of a politicized process whereby science follows rather than directs the formation of legislation. The socio-political commitments within organized psychology and among sexual orientation researchers in particular are essentially hegemonic and left-of-centre.[2] This viewpoint monopoly creates a serious problem for the scientific enterprise. As noted by Redding,[3] “The kind of science that gets conducted, how findings are interpreted and received, and the degree of critical scrutiny such studies receive is dependent upon scientists’ socio-political views” (p. 439).

In this environment, there is severe risk that the pressure of political agendas leads to the ignoring or suppressing of information that is inconvenient to the cause. I have outlined these concerns and their occurrence in recent ban legislation in California[4]. I mention here just a few aspects of the research into SAFE-T that has likely been hidden from a gullible public.

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