Saturday, June 2, 2012

When They're Wrong, Do Things Change?

What happens when a renowned academic stakes out a position on an issue, and after decades realizes he was wrong?  

Dr. Spitzer, in the 1970s was a young junior member on an American Psychiatric Association committee that was helping to rewrite the field’s diagnostic manual. He squared off against two influential senior psychiatrists in the wording and meaning of homosexuality, and when the Association sided with his position -- just like that -- being gay was no longer a "disorder." 

He has been considered a leading thinker in the psychiatric community throughout his career, despite a widely debated study he conduced [and wrote a paper about] regarding being gay as a choice.

In a New York Times article that chronicles his career and the depth of Reparative Therapy, at the age of 80 Dr. Spitzer now acknowledges that he was wrong; and apologized to those that were adversely affected.

When such a legendary mind as Dr. Spitzer is shown to be wrong in jumping to what seemed-to-him to be a clear and sure position, will this slow down those so quick to demonize the transgender community?

If history has taught us anything about the human condition, its that we're often wrong about what we think we "know" to be true, yet at the same time rarely willing to change our leaping-to-a-conclusion patterns.

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