When Cults Fail

The Seekers were a cult based on a prophesy that a UFO would save them from the apocalypse on December 21st 1954. The book ‘When Prophecy Fails’ describes how adherents became even more committed to the beliefs of this cult from December 22nd 1954, when the lack of either the apocalypse or the UFO seems to have provided compelling evidence in the other direction. This kind of “Belief Preservation” or “Backfire Effect” has been a well-attested feature of cult behaviour.

Many responses to the Cass Report have demonstrated similar characteristics, and the thread illustrated below highlights one example.

There is insufficient evidence for the safety and efficacy of puberty blockers
There is insufficient evidence for the safety and efficacy of puberty blockers

An acceptance that Dr Cass said there’s no evidence for the safety or efficacy of puberty blockers, does not for a moment dilute the insistence that anyone who questions giving these drugs to children must be a “transphobic bigot”. What kind of person would learn that a lot more research is required into whether or not a specific drug is safe for children, and then give that specific pharmaceutical to children anyway? The same person spent most of a day defending this position in the face of detailed evidence to the contrary, and this isn’t an uncommon response to Cass either.

There is also an insistence here that any caution with respect to these drugs is “putting children at risk”. We have been consistently told by mainstream activists and ideologues that gender affirming care is life-saving treatment. In contrast, the final Cass Report concluded that there is no evidence of a reduction in suicide risk from this approach, and the report also stated as follows:

“The reality is that we have no good evidence on the long-term outcomes of interventions to manage gender related distress.”

Quote from Cass Report

Where Dr Cass described an appalling medical scandal that involved serious harms to children that were inflicted on an entirely experimental basis, some people have acknowledged this and yet still continued advocating for the practice. In fact, the thread above attacks anyone who does not appear keen on this approach. This is explicitly cult-like behaviour.

For clarity, my article on the interim Cass Report did not say that “puberty blockers are sterilising kids”. That article explicitly referred to the “treatment pathway” that involved puberty blockers being followed by years of cross sex hormones. This is what happened in almost all cases that Dr Cass looked at. Specifically, in paragraphs 3.24 and 3.31 of the interim Cass Report (on pages 37 and 38) Dr Cass stated as follows:

“The administration of puberty blockers is arguably more controversial than administration of the feminising/masculinising hormones, because there are more uncertainties associated with their use … The most difficult question is whether puberty blockers do indeed provide valuable time for children and young people to consider their options, or whether they effectively ‘lock in’ children and young people to a treatment pathway which culminates in progression to feminising/masculinising hormones by impeding the usual process of sexual orientation and gender identity development. Data from both The Netherlands and the study conducted by GIDS demonstrated that almost all children and young people who are put on puberty blockers go on to sex hormone treatment (96.5% and 98% respectively). The reasons for this need to be better understood.”

Quotes from the Cass Report

Most people will not be surprised to learn that evidence shows if a pre-pubescent children have their puberty inhibited until adulthood, they will not then subsequently undergo a normal puberty and instead will remain sterile.

Quote from International Journal of Transgenderism
Quote from International Journal of Transgenderism

This is a treatment pathway that we know can cause sterilisation and much worse. We also know that the vast majority of gender dysphoric children will see their distress desist naturally, and that the clinicians themselves cannot identify the small minority that will retain a transgender identity into adulthood. Nevertheless, some people can acknowledge all of this and still promote the use of these dugs while attacking anyone favouring caution. Is it really a stretch to describe as a cult those who would acknowledge the lack of evidence for the efficacy or safety of such treatments, and yet insist that they must continue to be given to vulnerable children anyway?

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