Ben Carson lost some of my respect over the past few days, but not for the reason you might expect. You see, Ben Carson was absolutely correct to claim that homosexuality is a choice.
Why did he lose some of my respect then? Because he was so quick to apologize for his claim. Ben Carson’s claim to fame is his allegedly steadfast Christian values, but when those values got him in political hot water he quickly apologized. That is why I am disappointed.
Dr. Carson didn’t lose my respect for his original claim. Let’s talk about that for a minute.
Politifact shows case and point why the opposition to Carson’s claim is so baseless. Here’s the Politifact article on the issue. Let’s go over it’s problems:
- Politifact labels Carson’s statement false while misinterpreting what he said.
- Carson said many people go into prison straight and come out gay, which is evidence that sexuality is a choice.
- Politifact doesn’t even bother to realize that Carson’s Christian worldview assumes that gay is defined a person having sex with another of the same biological gender. Instead, Politifact assumes a leftist definition of homosexuality as same sex attraction.
- Politifact plays word games by admitting that straight men go to prison and have sex with each other – but it’s not gay according to them! This is the stupidity of the leftist view of sexuality. Someone can have sex with the same gender their whole life, enjoy it, and never have sex with the opposite gender, but as long as they don’t admit that they were attracted through a self-identified sexual orientation survey they weren’t technically gay! It’s the No Truly Gay Scotsman Fallacy.
- Revealed preference is accepted by sociologists as a much better measure of preference than survey data. Revealed preference is consistent with the Judeo-Christian conservative concept of sexuality, not the liberal one.
- Politifact cherry picks data to fit their own view – and then they have to misinterpret it because even the best data for their view still supports Carson’s statement!
- They don’t even cite the study where their data comes from! They claim there is a singular “recent study” from Christopher Hensley from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. For fact checkers, they sure make fact checking difficult.
- Recency is a subjective thing, and it’s something which is beside the point of the homosexuality debate, but it sure makes the source sound really great, doesn’t it? Politifact is off to an already biased start.
- Digging through the research on my own, I found the study. The study is Examining the Characteristics of Male Sexual Assault Targets in a Southern Maximum-Security Prison from the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. The data is from the year 2000. Recent? You tell me.
- Looking at the study, Dr. Hensley uses sexual identification as the measurement of sexual orientation. In other words, Politifact is comparing apples and oranges. As we earlier pointed out, Carson’s Christian definition of sexuality is de facto sexuality, while Dr. Hensley uses the modern, leftist, progressive, liberal definition.
- Does it seem like Politifact is cherry-picking their expert sources? On the other hand, perhaps Dr. Hensley is using the mainstream approach and the fact that it is also a leftist approach is just another sign that our higher education system is biased to the left as well.
- The actual data supports Carson’s view anyway! Dr. Hensley’s data showed that 19 out of 142 prisoners left the prison system more gay than they were when they came in. 18 entered the system as straight and left as bisexual, while 1 entered the system bisexual and left as self identified gay-only.
- Dr. Hensley and Politifact draw incorrect conclusions from the data by saying that they do not conclusively support Carson’s claim because 142 prisoners is too small a sample size. The accurate conclusion would be that the data does support Carson’s claim.
- The overall criticism offered by Politifact can be characterized as one large fallacy. They are arguing that Carson cannot claim something is true if he cannot prove it with certainty. The truth is that we often believe things without certainty. Are my keys on the table? I believe so, but I’m not going to wager my life on it.
- In fact, Carson never claimed prison systems were proof. He was offering it as evidence. Evidence and proof are two different things. In this article apologist Dr. William Lane Craig lays out the standard scientific definition of evidence.
- In fact, nothing is ever proved 100% in science. The scientific expectation, or null hypothesis, is that the whole population is expected to behave in the same way the sample behaves until there is evidence otherwise. In Dr. Hensley’s sample the prison system provided evidence that homosexuality is a choice. Without other data Dr. Hensley is committing a violation of method by not agreeing with Dr. Carson.
- In addition, the small sample size is a problem for Hensley and Politifact, not Carson! It was Hensley’s study! Their criticism is entirely a joke. It is as if I said “Yes, I have taken a poll and 100% of respondents agree that Dr. Hensley is an idiot.” Then I neglect to mention that the only person I surveyed was myself. The real issue would be my survey, not the result of the survey.
- They cherry pick alleged authorities to site who go along with their incorrect interpretation while ignoring the other side.
In addition, Politifact has other known problems:
- Problems with “Fact Checking”
- Who’s Checking the Fact Checkers?
- The strong left bias in the media at large. Not just Politifact, but including them. Various source articles here.