NARTH’s new peer-reviewed study is not new, is not peer-reviewed and is not a study – flaws even one of its authors admitted to Ex-Gay Watch.

CitizenLink, the news arm of Focus on the Family, made much of the paper’s appearance earlier this week, faithfully reproducing the immodest claims of NARTH’s press release:

A new report in this month’s edition of the peer-reviewed Journal of Human Sexuality finds that sexual orientation is not immutable and that psychological care for individuals with unwanted homosexual attractions is beneficial and poses no significant risk of harm.

This study is … a significant milestone when it comes to the scientific debate over the issue of homosexuality.

The report itself is even bolder, announcing that its results prove the following “singular conclusion”:

Homosexuality is not innate, immutable or without significant risk to medical, psychological, and relational health.

Exodus Vice President Randy Thomas was quick to champion the claims. Other conservatives, such as the ex-gay supportive Dr Warren Throckmorton, were not convinced. UK “post-gay” Peter Ould found it positively embarrassing.

And they are right to be embarrassed, for this supposedly new, peer-reviewed study is nothing of the sort.

First, it is far from new. By NARTH’s own admission, it is merely a survey of 100 years of literature.

That it is a survey means that, second, it is not a study. Jones-Yarhouse, for all its flaws, was a scientific study. NARTH’s paper, written by James Phelan, Neil Whitehead, and Philip Sutton, simply collates a century’s worth of material that (they think) supports the pro-reparative therapy position. It contains no new or original research whatsoever.

Jim Phelan confirmed both of these things directly when XGW spoke to him last year. Phelan said clearly the report was “a literature review – no new science [italics ours].  The data is presented more comprehensively than before.”

Third, that it is peer-reviewed is a sadly risible claim. It appears in Volume I of the Journal of Human Sexuality, a publication produced by NARTH. In other words, NARTH has reviewed its own paper for inclusion in a volume that appears to have been created specifically as a vehicle for NARTH’s views. The “peer review” therefore means next to nothing. In theory, I could rehash a few bits of other people’s work, get my XGW chums to look it over, and then publish it in a new magazine I’ve called the Journal of Ex-Gay Studies and claim it as a peer-reviewed milestone study. The problem is glaring.

Again, on this point, Phelan told XGW that the paper was “to be reviewed by members,” confirming that the peer review was nothing more than an internal review by like-minded NARTH members.

These are three massive obstacles even before we reach the content of the paper itself – of which we at XGW look forward to hearing more in Dr Throckmorton’s promised analysis.

The publication, titled What Research Shows: NARTH’s Response to the American Psychological Associations Claims on Homosexuality, is a clear sign (again, an impression we also gained from Phelan) that NARTH is getting nervous as the APA prepares to revise its position on reparative therapy. This dishonest regurgitation of old material in the guise of new research is a grasping at straws that tells us less about human sexuality and more about the desperation of NARTH and its allies in the ex-gay movement.

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