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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Anatomy Of A Change

  A couple of weeks ago, I brought you a story about how California's Board of Behavioral Sciences was permitting students to obtain continuing education credits from working at virulently anti-gay group NARTH. Myself as well as many of you were incensed that the freedom-forward Golden State could accredit an organization that promotes ideas and treatments for a disease that doesn't exist. Indeed, NARTH's gay cures have been discredited by every major medical organization and their proclaimed so-called success rates are dubious at best.

  With these things and more in mind, many of you petitioned the California BBS to take NARTH off of the 'approved' list. Well kids, despite my slight pessimism, it worked. The National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality is no longer listed in the catalogue of approved organizations for the purposes of Continuing Education credits pending a September review of BBS standards.

As it stands now, the BBS can't reject a continuing education provider due to its philosophy or even the validity of its scientific claims, executive officer Kim Madsen says, and "that's been a challenge." Instead, as long as the provider "meets the requirements as set forth in current law, we have to accept them." (Those requirements include providing direct or indirect patient care, having qualified instructors and submitting the appropriate applications and fees.)
At its September meeting, however, the BBS will be reviewing those laws and requirements and having a discusssion about what Madsen describes as "long-identified deficiencies in the continuing education model".

While it may seem like a small deal to have NARTH taken off of the list, even though it was because they had the book tossed at them for not paying fees, it really is not. NARTH is no longer accredited and because of pressure from media and concerned citizens alike, they are not likely to be reinstated. This will mean that NARTH will simply run out of students and younger medical professionals to work for them and, eventually, their institution dedicated to psychologically abusing young people will vanish into the abyss of antiquated thought.

  Never underestimate the power of unified protest, for if nobody spoke up about the California BBS' provider requirements, they wouldn't be reviewing them in the first place. If someone hadn't noticed NARTH's name and notified others, Nicolisi's group of homophobes likely would've received a warning or similar slap on the wrist. With the media aware now, the BBS will need to alter the ways in which they deal with organizations that profit from pseudoscience.

  Thousands of people spoke up about something they believe in, but it started with just one. Never be afraid to affect change- if your cause is true, masses will follow the leader. If everyone remained quiet about every idea, disease, racism, and every form of injustice and ineptitude would be rampant. Civilized society is a pretty amazing thing, and it is so because thoughts are communicated.

  Whether the idea relates to discovery or civil rights, good ones tend to reproduce rapidly. From free minds come wonderful brainchildren. The most tragic thing in the world is an intellect that's been neutered by submission to the status quo.

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