bad research and the dangers of groupthink

Recently there was much outrage over the alleged anti-homosexuality law in Uganda, but if you read the actual law it was speaking of forced sexual contact with minors with the intent to give them aids. (Insanitybytes)

I’m all for putting our thoughts out there. On any topic. I don’t feel I need to be an expert. But I do like to take a little time to verify most of my assumptions with some casual googles. I even take time to verify what I’ve read other people say by looking for evidence – if I can find an original source it’s best, but any kind of academic publication or even a reputable media source or two, just to make sure I’m not simply making things up.

It’s easy, takes five minutes, and makes me feel more prepared for disagreement when it arises.

So imagine my surprise when Pink accused one of my blogging buddies of spurring on hate crimes with lies. I don’t agree with a lot of what Insanitybytes has to say, but I do enjoy her writing and respect her ability to defend her point of view.

However, the misinformation she published in the post linked to above is reprehensible. It cannot be excused by mere ignorance, or a misunderstanding.

Anyone who takes five minutes to research what has been going in Uganda can find reference to the full law condemning all homosexual activity, they can find stories of murderrepression, and lives ruined. Earlier drafts of the law proposed the death penalty and to make it a crime to not report homosexual activity. The intent behind the changes were beyond contempt and encompassed every aspect of existence as a gay person. The conflation of homosexuality with paedophilia in some parts of the law, only made it more disgusting. But to suggest that’s what the law was about is ignorance itself.

And of course, the horror of all horrors in this story, is that the moves to tighten the already atrocious conditions for homosexuals under Ugandan law were led by American evangelicals.

Insanity, where did you get your information on this story? Please read all the links here. And check your sources next time. Your particular brand of groupthink is dangerously ignorant. To so brazenly spread such dangerous lies is to reduce the value of life for people suffering under this kind of repression, and to encourage the kind of behaviour that leads to mindless hate crimes.