Questions related to sexuality and gender bear on some of the most intimate and personal aspects of human life. In recent years they have also vexed American politics. The New Atlantis offers this report — written by Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, an epidemiologist trained in psychiatry, and Dr. Paul R. McHugh, arguably the most important American psychiatrist of the last half-century — in the hope of improving public understanding of these questions. Examining research from the biological, psychological, and social sciences, this report shows that some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence. The report has a special focus on the higher rates of mental health problems among LGBT populations, and it questions the scientific basis of trends in the treatment of children who do not identify with their biological sex. More effort is called for to provide these people with the understanding, care, and support they need to lead healthy, flourishing lives.
Arguments in favor of research on human embryos typically play off our unfamiliarity with the way that we ourselves once appeared and existed as embryos. Humans in their tiniest stages are indeed unfamiliar to us, and they hardly look anything like “one of us.” Yet the undeniable conclusion, that every one of us was once an embryo, remains an indisputable scientific dogma, causing a “fingernails on the chalkboard” phenomenon for researchers every time they choose to experiment on embryos or destroy them for research. To enable scientists to get beyond the knowledge that they’re experimenting on or destroying fellow humans, clever stratagems and justifications have had to be devised. Among the more successful of these approaches has been the well-known “14-day rule.”
Making Sense Of Bioethics – by Father Tad Pacholczyk, Director of Education at the NCBC, is the author of a column called Making Sense of Bioethics that appears in various diocesan newspapers across the United States of America.