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Dr. Neil Whitehead responds to the APA Task Force

July 17, 2012 By: Tom Coy Category: Clinical Science, Sexual Orientation Change Efforts

January 10, 2011

Dr. Neil Whitehead has responded to the American Psychological Associations 2009 “Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation” Here is an excerpt:

“‘Normal’ is a Values-Laden Term, Not a Scientific Term”

“There are many professionals who believe that several of APA’s basic positions on homosexuality are scientifically untenable, and have believed this for 30 years and more – specifically, both the alleged normality of the condition, and the alleged lack of accompanying pathology.”

“The most basic bit of philosophical sleight-of-hand in the report is its claim that homosexuality has been proven normal. But as a practicing scientist, I am well aware that this statement of normality is a value judgment, and when wrongly presented as a scientific statement of fact, it transforms science into a sort of religion. Further, this claim is used as a means of advocating for the ethical normality of acting on one’s homosexual attractions.”

“If the statement, “homosexuality is normal” means that homosexuality occurs often in society, one could not dispute it, for surveys show that it is fairly widespread. But to use the value-word ‘normal’ to describe it on that basis requires an untenable leap of faith. Anyone in introductory philosophy classes learns that it is a logical fallacy to say that because something is, it is therefore right (or wrong), healthy (or unhealthy). This is referred to as the is/ought fallacy — i.e., just because something ‘is,’ does not mean that it ‘ought to be.’”

“Science can only say that some things are right or “normal” when it has been paired with a religious or philosophical ideology. Therefore statements about the normality or abnormality of homosexuality cannot come from science, but from politics. When the APA implies that the concept of ethical normality comes from science, it is attaching a false authority to its pronouncements.”
The full text of Dr. Whitehead’s response can be found at