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University blocks transgender research Watch

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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41384473

    A therapist says he is "astonished" by a university's decision to stop him studying people who decide to reverse gender reassignment operations.

    James Caspian wanted to write a thesis on "detransition" as part of his master's degree in counselling and psychotherapy at Bath Spa University. He said it was rejected by the university's ethics committee because it could be "politically incorrect".


    I believe the purpose of science is to establish the facts, regardless of how politically correct or offensive they might be. Surely it’s a university’s responsibility to facilitate scientific research and allow the truth to unfold, instead of curbing it just because it may not suit a particular agenda?

    Particularly when taxpayers are spending millions of pounds on surgery and treatment to help people transition, some research on patients who turn out to regret their decision could be incredibly valuable. It could potentially save a lot of money and a lot of hassle too.

    I’m astonished by the university’s decision to block the research as well. What exactly are they worried that the results might show?

    I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter, and whether you agree with the decision or not.
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    I don't agree. If they're confident on their views, then the thesis should agree with their views.
    They're most likely worried about backlash, which is unfortunate but is indicative of how influential social justice warriors now are.

    They should have allowed it. Once you start blocking these things based on ideology, then you get an echo-chamber.
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    Is there research on why people undergo gender reassignment - yes. So there should also be research on why people want to detransition. A university is a place of research and should not be blocking because of politics or religion or whatever.
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    I don't agree with the decision to block the research, but we have to put it within the academic context.

    Universities are independent organisations. Each uni makes its own decisions whether to run modules / degrees, how to obtain and spend their funding / budgets, and what research to undertake (usually done to secure more funding).

    When you apply to do research at a uni, the uni can agree or refuse your application. In fact many unis refuse a lot of research application because they lack prestige, can't secure funding, too niche for any one to read what is published, the lack of knowledgeable staff to supervise the chosen study. A mate of mine's doing a phd. He had to submit a proposal of research to the uni, and wait for the uni to decide whether to accept or refuse it.

    I don't think anyone would've cared about the research would if it was about improving the productivity of combine harvesters.
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    (Original post by ThePricklyOne)
    I don't agree with the decision to block the research, but we have to put it within the academic context.

    Universities are independent organisations. Each uni makes its own decisions whether to run modules / degrees, how to obtain and spend their funding / budgets, and what research to undertake (usually done to secure more funding).

    When you apply to do research at a uni, the uni can agree or refuse your application. In fact many unis refuse a lot of research application because they lack prestige, can't secure funding, too niche for any one to read what is published, the lack of knowledgeable staff to supervise the chosen study. A mate of mine's doing a phd. He had to submit a proposal of research to the uni, and wait for the uni to decide whether to accept or refuse it.

    I don't think anyone would've cared about the research would if it was about improving the productivity of combine harvesters.
    I agree, there are lots of legitimate reasons why universities may choose not to allow certain research projects to go ahead. But in this case, they’ve openly said that it’s because the research is “potentially politically incorrect” and that it is “better not to offend”.

    Surely this illustrates that there’s a serious problem in the level of influence that LBGT and other “politically correct advocacy groups can exert on society, where universities are so intimidated by the consequences of offending them (even with scientific truth) that they’re willing to block research purely for that purpose?
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    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    I agree, there are lots of legitimate reasons why universities may choose not to allow certain research projects to go ahead. But in this case, they’ve openly said that it’s because the research is “potentially politically incorrect” and that it is “better not to offend”.

    Surely this illustrates that there’s a serious problem in the level of influence that LBGT and other “politically correct advocacy groups can exert on society, where universities are so intimidated by the consequences of offending them (even with scientific truth) that they’re willing to block research purely for that purpose?
    Reading the article, it said the researcher said the reason for the uni's refusal was 'better not to offend'. Not the uni.

    If the research could threaten the uni's funding (ie. cause big donors to stop giving money because of its controversial nature), then it is a good enough reason to refuse it. Happens all the time without anyone complaining about it.

    No one is entitled to do any research they like or demand that the uni support it. If the researcher/LGBT community thinks the research is so important, when why don't LGBT charities finance it? Like the same way that charities fund research on a cure for cancer?
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    (Original post by ThePricklyOne)
    If the research could threaten the uni's funding (ie. cause big donors to stop giving money because of its controversial nature), then it is a good enough reason to refuse it. Happens all the time without anyone complaining about it.
    I’m not really saying that the university is at fault, obviously they just want to protect their own interests.

    I think this episode just just highlights a wider problem in society, where the “politically correct” version of the truth may be valued more than the actual truth.

    From an unbiased point of view, the truth can never be “controversial”. Facts are just facts, and are true whether we like them or not.

    But in this case, if research is considered “controversial” and causes donors to cut off funding just because the results don’t suit a particular agenda, it suggests that society has a bias towards a particular viewpoint, independently of whether or not it is actually the correct one.

    No one is entitled to do any research they like or demand that the uni support it. If the researcher/LGBT community thinks the research is so important, when why don't LGBT charities finance it? Like the same way that charities fund research on a cure for cancer?
    I think LGBT charities probably would finance it if they expected results that already agree with their cause. But in this case the worry is that the results might undermine that cause.
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    (Original post by ThePricklyOne)
    I don't agree with the decision to block the research, but we have to put it within the academic context.

    Universities are independent organisations. Each uni makes its own decisions whether to run modules / degrees, how to obtain and spend their funding / budgets, and what research to undertake (usually done to secure more funding).

    When you apply to do research at a uni, the uni can agree or refuse your application. In fact many unis refuse a lot of research application because they lack prestige, can't secure funding, too niche for any one to read what is published, the lack of knowledgeable staff to supervise the chosen study. A mate of mine's doing a phd. He had to submit a proposal of research to the uni, and wait for the uni to decide whether to accept or refuse it.

    I don't think anyone would've cared about the research would if it was about improving the productivity of combine harvesters.
    Good point. Since they're independent organizations, they should have the freedom to reject research applications.
    I think they should have let the research be done, though they're not obliged to, they have the right to refuse, if all that makes sense.
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    (Original post by Heirio)
    Good point. Since they're independent organizations, they should have the freedom to reject research applications.
    I think they should have let the research be done, though they're not obliged to, they have the right to refuse, if all that makes sense.
    I agree that the university should be able to choose which research it allows or blocks according to its own interests.

    I just think that, when they’re blocking research because they fear that the results could be politically incorrect and offend people, it highlights how unduly influential LGBT and other activist groups can be, whereby they can intimidate independent organisations into suppressing the truth where it suits them.

    What are they afraid that the results might show?
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    Blocking science because they won't like the truth, it's like they themselves don't believe their views.
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    Honestly, if a university has more interest in not offending than truth, why should anyone trust a single bit of their research output?

    Bath Spa was always a joke university, but still...
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    Ridiculous. And I university was meant to encourage a diverse range of opinions/beliefs.
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    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    I agree that the university should be able to choose which research it allows or blocks according to its own interests.

    I just think that, when they’re blocking research because they fear that the results could be politically incorrect and offend people, it highlights how unduly influential LGBT and other activist groups can be, whereby they can intimidate independent organisations into suppressing the truth where it suits them.

    What are they afraid that the results might show?
    If you've already made up your mind, its an opinion piece not a research proposal and deserves to be turned down. You deciding on the results of the research before the research has even started tells me you don't really understand anything about universities or research.

    Unis are right wing than left. They get a lot of funding from industry, govt, private individuals most of whom are right wing. If I proposed research on the exploitation of academic staff - what are the chances the uni would say no? Or if my employers are willing to finance my proposal, do you think the uni is more likely to say yes (even if the proposal is utter rubbish) or refuse it?
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    (Original post by Nebuchadnezzaṛ)
    Blocking science because they won't like the truth, it's like they themselves don't believe their views.
    The proposal is not a scientific one. So how are they blocking science?
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    (Original post by Heirio)
    Good point. Since they're independent organizations, they should have the freedom to reject research applications.
    I think they should have let the research be done, though they're not obliged to, they have the right to refuse, if all that makes sense.
    It does make sense. You're the only one on this thread who's said anything sensible. Everybody else seem to want to shoot down anything that doesn't fit their anti-LGBT prejudices.

    Either unis are independent that they can accept or refuse research proposals, or they're just a mouthpiece of a one party state and not centres of research. Unis don't care on the type of research (left wing or right) as long as it generates lots of publicity and lots of money. In the past US unis have accepted research that suggests blacks are not as smart as whites.

    There are over 100 unis in the UK (many more in the US), and they're all independent. If one turns down someone's research proposal, there's nothing stopping them from taking it to another uni. The fact that the researcher chose to start a row instead does suggests he has a anti LGBT agenda.

    Funny that no right wing org/individual is willing to fund his research.
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    If people want to transition or revert back, then that should be respected. There was a case involving a boy who was encouraged to transition by his mum, but decided (shockingly) that it was just a phase a few years later. Children live in an imaginary world a lot of the time and they don't have a stable self of self, yet it's politically correct for them to transition? The term "politically correctness" has absolutely no validity any more as it seems to support causes over people.
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    (Original post by ThePricklyOne)
    It does make sense. You're the only one on this thread who's said anything sensible. Everybody else seem to want to shoot down anything that doesn't fit their anti-LGBT prejudices.

    Either unis are independent that they can accept or refuse research proposals, or they're just a mouthpiece of a one party state and not centres of research. Unis don't care on the type of research (left wing or right) as long as it generates lots of publicity and lots of money. In the past US unis have accepted research that suggests blacks are not as smart as whites.

    There are over 100 unis in the UK (many more in the US), and they're all independent. If one turns down someone's research proposal, there's nothing stopping them from taking it to another uni. The fact that the researcher chose to start a row instead does suggests he has a anti LGBT agenda.

    Funny that no right wing org/individual is willing to fund his research.
    Almost all British universities take government money to some extent. I'm almost (but not quite) certain that not having a political bias is one of the requirements which comes with that...

    But to be honest that's not the main point. This case is a bit he-said-she-said, but if a department is indeed using political bases in selecting research applications, then they lose all credibility as a rigorous, independent centre of research (if Bath Spa ever had such a reputation).

    I wouldn't be the first to point out that social "sciences" are rife with this sort of nonsense, but if the article is true it's a particularly blatant case.
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    This is why most of us on the left were so opposed to universities being commercialised. It's become about defending their financial interests and avoiding controversy rather than furthering research - and this was completely inevitable.
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    As we haven't seen the research proposal, ethics application or the full research ethics review we really don't have the full picture. Easy to jump to conclusions with such limited information in the public domain.
 
 
 
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