January 25, 2007

Gay Sheep: Wolpe Says to NYT that Researchers Must be Held Accountable for Implications in Media Conversation About Sexual Orientation

Of Gay Sheep, Modern Science and the Perils of Bad Publicity, in today's Times, is an interesting review of the issues presented for gay rights by the sheep research. Our Paul Wolpe:
"Paul Root Wolpe, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and a senior fellow at the university's Center for Bioethics, said that although he supported Dr. Roselli's research, I'm not sure I would let him off the hook quite as easily as he wants to be let off the hook. By discussing the human implications of the research, even in a somewhat careful way, Dr. Roselli opened the door to the reaction, Dr. Wolpe said, and has to take responsibility for the public response. If the mechanisms underlying sexual orientation can be discovered and manipulated, Dr. Wolpe continued, then the argument that sexual orientation is based in biology and is immutable evaporates. The prospect of parents' eventually being able to choose not to have children who would become gay is a real concern for the future, Dr. Wolpe said. But he added, This concern is best addressed by trying to change public perceptions of homosexuality rather than stop basic science on sexuality."

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