Weekly Standard Writer Says I’m An Academic Who Should Know Better

On Wednesday, Weekly Standard writer Jonathan Last wrote to ask if I read the entire paper on sexual orientation and gender identity from Mayer and McHugh in The New Atlantis. He had read my blog post on the subject and asked if I had read only the sexual orientation sections.  I replied that I had only read the sexual orientation parts of the paper. I added that with school starting here I had not gotten to the gender identity section of the paper.

From that brief exchange, Mr. Last wrote the following today about me:

Making these kinds of statements—that we do not fully understand homosexuality or transgenderism—has become a courageous act. Mayer and McHugh have already been attacked, both by LGBT activists and academics who should know better.

Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at Grove City College, rushed to publish a critique of Mayer and McHugh before he’d even read the full report. Why the rush? Throckmorton was outraged that “As far as I can tell, it is being touted most by conservative leaning and anti-gay organizations.”

What’s interesting is that if you read deeply enough into Throckmorton’s hasty critique, it turns out that his substantive differences with Mayer and McHugh are reasonably small. His real concern is that some conservative, somewhere, might use the report as a tool to question the political orthodoxies of the day.

Outraged? I re-read my post and didn’t find outrage (please go read it again). I stated my observation about where I had been seeing the paper. Furthermore, I explained why I hadn’t read the rest of it. I didn’t comment on the part I didn’t read.

The real cheap shot is his statement is that I want to keep conservatives from political questioning. Given my work over the years, that’s just silly. If anything, the bulk of research on sexual orientation has been kept from religious conservatives by other religious conservatives (especially true in evangelical circles). In any case, I can’t see how he arrived at his conclusion from my post. I found holes in the Mayer and McHugh paper and mentioned them. Would Mr. Last prefer that I not point them out?

I am not going to opine about Mr. Last’s motives for getting me so wrong, but I believe he should correct himself and, at the least, put a link to my initial post so his readers can judge for themselves.