As XGW reported last week, Bob Stith, the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) National Strategist for Gender Issues and Exodus speaker, apologized in an email to us for his use of erroneous quotes from noted geneticist Francis Collins. XGW has made correction of the misuse of Collins’ materials a priority since NARTH‘s Dean Byrd mangled words from Collins book last year.
While the ex-gay activist who appears to have made up this particular quote, Greg Quinlan, has refused to issue a correction, Stith seems genuinely concerned about the error and submitted a correction to Baptist Press who had published the original article. Today we see that Baptist Press has made the changes promised, along with a note which calls attention to the correction.
The following paragraphs have been removed from the article:
For example, in 2003, the International Human Genome Consortium announced the successful completion of the Human Genome Project, which, among other things, identified each of the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA. The press release read: “The human genome is complete and the Human Genome Project is over.”
While this accomplishment was widely reported, almost no one reported the words of Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the project. Collins, arguably the nation’s most influential geneticist, said, “Homosexuality is not hardwired. There is no gay gene. We mapped the human genome. We now know there is no genetic cause for homosexuality.”
Somehow the major media missed that little tidbit. Collins and others acknowledge that genetics can predispose but not predetermine. This supports other studies that clearly document the possibility of change for people who struggle with unwanted homosexual desire. [emphasis added]
and the following verbiage has been added:
In his book “The Language of God” Dr. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome project, made the following comments:
“An area of particularly strong public interest is the genetic basis of homosexuality. Evidence from twin studies does in fact support the conclusion that heritable factors play a role in male homosexuality. However, the likelihood that the identical twin of a homosexual male will also be gay is about 20% (compared with 2-4 percent of males in the general population), indicating that sexual orientation is genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations” (p. 260, “The Language of God”).
Dr. Collins has since stated that this should not be taken out of context. He further stated: “That certainly doesn’t imply, however, that those other undefined factors are inherently alterable “I would urge anyone who is concerned about the meaning to refer back to the original text.”
I would certainly encourage readers to do that, paying particular attention to pages 257-263.
The article itself is now prefaced with a notice of revision:
REVISED: October 8, 2008 to reflect more accurate wording from “The Language of God” by Dr. Francis Collins.
Stith has told us that he submitted and requested both the correction and a new article to reference it, but that he has no direct control of the process. Apparently Baptist Press did not see fit to follow his advice which is unfortunate as it may have helped curb the number of subsequent quotes of this erroneous statement.
While some are unhappy that more was not done, one should not forget that this is progress. Those who have linked to the article will find no support for the Quinlan inspired quote and will see that Baptist Press has itself recognized it as erroneous. For those of us who try to inform others who are quoting this in error, such references do help.
Of course, the real responsiblity for all of this lands squarely with Quinlan, and prior to that, Byrd and NARTH, neither of whom have lifted a finger to correct their errors.
Original: Stith Boltz Article – Archived