Anti-gay group distorts research

A controversial smartphone app has a University professor upset.

Daily Editorial Board

Exodus International is an organization that seeks to âÄúprovide support for individuals who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions.âÄù Though generally dismissed by reasonable people âÄî including two of the groupâÄôs prominent members âÄî Exodus claims to help its followers âÄújourney out of homosexuality.âÄù And now, thereâÄôs an app for that: Exodus recently adapted its divisive message for smartphones.
However, University of Minnesota professor Dr. Gary Remafedi, whose research the Exodus smartphone application cites, claims Exodus is distorting his work. He sent Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and its interim CEO Tim Cook a letter Monday to this effect.
The problem is in the âÄúReal AnswersâÄù section. Among the horde of questions is, âÄúIf people are same-sex attracted but donâÄôt ever act on it, does that make them homosexual?âÄù The answer cites a study of RemafediâÄôs from 1992 but skews the findings to make it seem like homosexuality is merely a transitory phase in peopleâÄôs youth.
To its credit, Exodus doesnâÄôt spew the traditional hate speech regularly associated with anti-gay sentiments, but it still could mislead young people by citing research that does not support its claims. The organization has the right to express its particular belief, but ExodusâÄô teachings are based on faith and opinion, not science or reason.
Remafedi says this isnâÄôt the first time his work has been misinterpreted, though he has been successful in challenging distortions of his work in the past.
In order to preserve the integrity of RemafediâÄôs study, Apple must at minimum require Exodus to remove their reference to it in the application, if not remove the application entirely.