(Article by Clare Marie Merkowsky republished from LifeSiteNews.com)
In the Public Discourse, Matthew Franck interviewed Dr. Paul McHugh, a distinguished service professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. From 1975 to 2001, McHugh served as director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
McHugh explained that the workings of the brain and the mind are still a mystery to science. Since the mind is such a mystery, psychiatrists can often err in their diagnoses.
While these mistakes are sometimes made because of ignorance of the mind, sometimes a doctor "could also make mistakes in the narrative by presuming things that were not there in actuality but were put in by him, or her, the psychiatrist, because they made a better story."
In one of McHugh's essays, The Mind Has Mountains, he remarked about "the power of cultural fashions to lead psychiatric thought and practice off in false, even disastrous, directions."
The interviewer, Franck, pointed out that mental health departments recently have seen an increasing number of patients suffering from gender dysphoria. McHugh asserted that this phenomenon is not founded in science, but rather is a "tyranny of popular sentiments."
"I think psychiatry is vulnerable to that because it works with phenomena of mental life and problems of mental behavior, and therefore is liable, without another kind of tradition or another source of knowledge, to be carried away," he said, adding, "It happens about every 10 or 15 years."
According to McHugh, "there's a love on the part of psychiatrists for being men of the secret and having their own magical secret." For this reason, the solution to the problem of transgenderism is made into a kind of idol. McHugh likened this to the golden calf that the Jewish people worshipped in Exodus.
In 2019, McHugh, together with Dr. Lawrence Mayer, published "Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences" in The New Atlantis. Their article pointed out that science does not support the transgender movement.
McHugh felt prompted to write the article because "(transgenderism) didn't work from the science point of view, and they might, in our society, not be such good ideas, not good things for people to believe."
He ultimately wanted to tell people that "we still don't know a great deal about the provenance of homosexuality and transgender or gender dysphoria. We have no particular reason to believe that either phenomenon is innate or biologically based or immutable."
This article caused an uproar. Dean Hamer, a geneticist and student of homosexuality, claimed, "This has all just been disproven, it's bad science." However, McHugh pointed out that Hamer didn't actually explain what parts of the article were false or offer any counter-evidence.
While the movement is now at its peak, McHugh is confident that it will drift away and be remembered as a fad.
"I'm amazed at the amount of power and weaponry that it's gotten behind it now, with the government and law and even medical organizations getting behind it, but I'm absolutely convinced that this is folly and it's going to collapse, just as the eugenics folly collapsed," he said.
Particularly, the movement will crumble "in relationship to the injury to children." He predicted massive lawsuits from children whose lives have been destroyed by the sex-changing process. "But we're going to be left with a number of much more injured patients," he lamented. "I'm very sure this is going to happen."
He also cautioned against the use of hormones and gender surgery for children. McHugh explained that children are too young to make these life-changing decisions. "Remember, puberty occurs between nine and 14 when you're a girl, and between 11 and 14 when you're a boy," he said. "These are children."
Furthermore, these changes take place during puberty, which is a very complex and mysterious process, which is not yet fully explained by science.
According to McHugh, 85 percent to 95 percent of children, who believe that they are of the opposite sex and are allowed to go through puberty normally, decide to remain their actual gender. However, if these children are given puberty blockers, only 5 percent or 10 percent decide to return to their actual gender.
"Finally, the most important point is that scientists have one great vulnerability," he revealed. "They can be dealing with the most complex issue and try to oversimplify it and make it seem like a simple issue." He explained that children could lose their fertility at age 11, without fully understanding what they are choosing.
While working as the head of the psychiatry department at Johns Hopkins University, McHugh refused to offer permission for plastic surgeons to perform sex-change operations on children. After making this announcement, he said a plastic surgeon responded with the comment: "Oh, thank goodness. How would you like it to get up in the morning, Paul, and face the day slashing away at perfectly normal organs, because you guys don't know what's the matter."
However, in 2017, the plastic surgeons at Johns Hopkins University declared that they were going to perform the operations without permission from the psychiatry department. Since McHugh was no longer the head of the department, he could not prevent this action.
As a Catholic psychiatrist, McHugh revealed that he was often verbally attacked, even at Johns Hopkins University. However, he does not regret his religious convictions and instead embraces his faith.
"Thank goodness I was raised with it, because of the wonderful Catholic realism that places you solidly on the ground in relationship to human nature and the human condition," he declared.
"I think Christianity was the foundation of science," McHugh continued. "After all, 'In the beginning was the Word' — the Logos. Well, that means something, to make science reasonable."