pseudoscience meets religion……

Posted on Sunday 25 April 2010

.- The newspaper, El Diaro de Chile, published an article last week by Spanish psychologist Jose Maria Amenos Vidal titled, “Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and the scientific evidence that supports the relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia.”  The author asserts that the cardinal was correct in affirming such a link during his visit to Chile.

Since 1984, Vidal has been a professor of Philosophy and Educational Science at the Central University of Barcelona, Spain, where he is also Director of Seminars in the Departments of General and Social Psychology.  In his article, Vidal recalls that the renowned Spanish doctor and psychiatrist, Aquilino Polaino, an expert in the field, previously pointed out that homosexuality should be considered a mental disease, and must be addressed with psychiatric treatment, under the guidance of the model set forth by Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg. 

Aardweg is the Dutch professor and psychologist who years ago, “deciphered the keys to this illness and its treatment.”  His model directly clashes with those of Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, Vidal said, “because orthodox and heterodox psychoanalysts have defended the unscientific position that homosexuality is the result of hereditary factors.”  He noted that “this hypothesis …  has been completely ruled out today because of  its incongruence with the results of scientific research.” He added that one can conclude that the “social environment is indeed [homosexuality’s] main trigger.”

From this point of view, Vidal continued, “The recent statements by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, during his recent trip to Chile support the scientific evidence derived from statistical co-relational studies between homosexuality and pedophilia.” Vidal said these studies show that homosexuality is not the result of genetic inheritance or of evolutionism in relation to pedophilia and that it is not disconnected from environmental influence.
It’s remarkable to read such a report. Spanish psychologist Jose Maria Amenos Vidal, Spanish psychiatrist, Aquilino Polaino, and Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg are recurrently associated with such reports – always claiming scientific validation, always associated with treatment models involving religion, often equating homosexuality and pedophillia – "scientific evidence that supports the relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia" "social environment is indeed [homosexuality’s] main trigger." There’s usually a line like this, "His model directly clashes with those of Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, Vidal said, ‘because orthodox and heterodox psychoanalysts have defended the unscientific position that homosexuality is the result of hereditary factors’." I wasn’t aware that Sigmund Freud had such a model, and I taught the Freud Course in our Psychoanalytic Institute for a number of years. Psychiatrist Aquilino Polaino testified in the Spanish Senate about this issue:
The bill to allow same-sex marriage in Spain was short: it added a new paragraph to article 44 of the civil code, saying that Matrimony shall have the same requisites and effects regardless of whether the persons involved are of the same or different sex.

In accordance with constitutional provisions, the text approved by the Congress was then submitted to the Senate for final approval, change or veto. On 21 June 2005 experts were called to the Senate to debate the issue. The expert’s opinions were diverse; some stated that gay adoption had no effect on a child’s development, except for perhaps a higher tolerance towards homosexuality. However, psychiatrist Aquilino Polaino, called by the People’s Party as an expert, called homosexuality a pathology and emotive disorder. Among other assertions that generated debate, he claimed that "many homosexuals have rape abuse antecedents since childhood" and that homosexuals generally come from families with "hostile, alcoholic and distant" fathers, and mothers who were "over protective" toward boys and "cold" toward girls. Prominent People’s Party members later rejected Polaino’s assertions.

The Senate vetoed the text submitted by the Congress. The veto was proposed by the People’s Party, which held the majority of the seats, and by the Democratic Union of Catalonia, and was approved by 131 "yes" and 119 "no" votes and 2 abstentions. As a result, the text was sent back to the Congress. On 30 June 2005 it was approved by Congress, which, in accordance with the constitutional provisions, overrode the Senate veto. This was achieved with 187 "yes" votes (including a member of the People’s Party, Celia Villalobos), 147 "no" votes, and four abstentions. The veto override implied its approval as law. The vote was held after Zapatero unexpectedly took the floor of parliament to speak in its support, saying We are expanding the opportunities for happiness of our neighbors, our colleagues, our friends and our relatives. At the same time, we are building a more decent society. Mariano Rajoy, the leader of the opposition People’s Party, was denied the opportunity to address parliament after Zapatero’s appearance, and accused Zapatero of dividing Spanish society.

When the media asked King Juan Carlos if he would endorse the bill that was being debated in the Cortes Generales, he answered that he was the King of Spain, not of Belgium – a reference to King Baudouin I of Belgium, who refused to sign the Belgian law legalising abortion. For the king to with hold his royal assent effects a veto of the legislation, however the king gave his Royal Assent to Law 13/2005 on 1 July 2005; and the law was gazetted in the Boletín Oficial del Estado on 2 July, and came into effect on 3 July. The king received criticism by Carlist and other far right conservatives for endorsing the legislation.
In this country, the organization where people of this persuasion congregate is NARTH, the National Association for Reasearch and Therapy of Homosexuality. If you look at their web site, it’s full of accusations that pro-gay groups falsify the scientific evidence. And if you listen to the Gay organizations, they reverse the accusation. Little can be gained by reading what they have to say – because each group starts with a conclusion and works backwards.

To my way of thinking, it’s rendered moot by dealing with gay people – who are obviously just what they are. Being homosexual is harder than being heterosexual, particularly in a world than wants to tell you what you are rather than listen to you. But the views expressed above are particularly unhelpful – a bunch of religious heterosexual men talking about something they don’t understand. It’s as ludicrous as the same group of men talking about female psychology as if they’re experts. And to read this kind of thing in a Catholic Newsletter during the worldwide scandal about pedophillic priests is almost too comical.

It would seem like the Catholic Church might be better advised to clean up their own side of the street, before they go pontificating about the other side. They might as well say that pedophillia is statistically linked to the priesthood which "should be considered a mental disease, and must be addressed with psychiatric treatment". Actually, that link is becoming increasingly solid…

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