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Liberals Used to Value The Truth, Part 345

I just read with horror and disgust the full story of what happened to University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus who published a recent studythat contradicted the “accepted” scholarly consensus that children raised by homosexuals have no different life outcomes than those raised by intact biological parents. The wonderful Andy Ferguson summarizes:

As of mid-July, a month after his paper was published, these are some of the things that have happened to Mark Regnerus. Three of his colleagues in the sociology department at UT joined with a fourth to -publish a widely distributed op-ed in the Huffington Post accusing him of “besmirching” the university through his “irresponsible and reckless misrepresentation of social science research.” Led by Gary Gates, the UCLA demographer who had declined Regnerus’s offer to help design the study, more than 200 “researchers and scholars” signed a letter to the editor of Social Science Research. The letter demanded that the editor “publicly disclose the reasons” why he published the paper and insisted that he hire scholars more sensitive to “LGBT parenting issues” to write a critique for the journal’s next edition. UT’s Director of Research Integrity sent Regnerus a letter informing him that a formal complaint of “scientific misconduct” had been lodged against him. The complaint, made by a gay blogger/activist/“investigative journalist” called Scott Rose, triggered an official inquiry into Regnerus’s research methods and his relationship with the Witherspoon Foundation; he’s now preparing to appear before a panel of faculty investigators. Requests have been filed with the Texas attorney general’s office demanding that Regnerus, as an employee of a state-run institution, make public all email and correspondence related to his study. And he has hired a lawyer.

A large number of his fellow social scientists—members in good standing of the guild of LGBT researchers—would like to destroy his career.

Ferguson’s whole article is quite good and goes into the problems with Regnerus’ study (and since Regnerus is a good scholar, he acknowledged those problems up front!) and its “unique strengths” as Ferguson puts it, as well as the reaction from other scholars who study these issues (in particular the weaselly demographer Gary Gates).

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at any of this by now; but because I still care passionately about the truth, because I have known wonderful scholars and teachers who were willing to pursue the truth wherever it led them, and because I think the homosexual lobby is inimical to a flourishing American society – this story still managed to surprise me and make me sick.

Comments (16)

The 'average Joe' - insofar as he pays any attention to the intellectual dishonesty of a 'scholarly consensus' such as the one referred to in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas - knows that he's being lied to, but doesn't care. Fed on a diet of lies and rumours of lies, the man on the Clapham bus no longer listens and has lost his voice most irrecoverably.

Few people seem to share Jeff's passion for the truth: many believe that Truth is found at the golden mean, halfway between right and wrong.

Have you seen this interesting article at the Chronicle of Higher Education?


One very important point the article made is that _most_ social science studies can be criticized in some way both as to methodology and conclusions. We're talking about sociology, after all. (On which, see Tom Lehrer's hilarious song.


The idea that Regnerus' work amounts somehow to "academic misconduct" is absurd and would never have been thought of had the homosexual lobby not considered itself threatened by his conclusions.

“Here’s the way I put it,” said Gary Gates, the demographer. “It’s like he took a group of men who never smoked and compared them with a group of women who smoked three packs a day. Then he checked lung cancer rates. And he concluded that being a woman puts you at greater risk for lung cancer. But of course the cancer rate has nothing to do with being a woman.” In the same way, he says, we can’t tell from Regnerus’s data what role homosexuality—as opposed to divorce, welfare, single-parenthood—played in the bad outcomes.

Gates is best known for his finding a few years back that only 3.8 percent of Americans are self-identified homosexuals, as opposed to the 10-plus percent routinely cited by gay activists (and created ex nihilo by the creepy zoologist Alfred Kinsey). He was heavily criticized as a traitor to the cause. “The question to me has always been why Gates .  .  . wants to punish us so,” said the radical activist Larry Kramer. Gates says he turned down Regnerus’s offer to help with the study because of the same scrupulousness. The design was flawed from the start, he says—and Regnerus, moreover, is not a member of the guild that studies LGBT families.

“He told me what the design was,” Gates says. “I said you’re designing this to get bad outcomes for gay and lesbian parents. I could see it. I asked him, Why are you leading this study? On the most basic level, this subject matter is about family structure and the interplay with sexual orientation. And he has no—no—background in that.”

Gates did more than anyone to determine the population of gay Americans, fairly odd behavior for a "weasel". On the other hand, Regnerus perpetuates the same flawed methodology he says was obvious in the previous literature, comparing apples to oranges. If he cared about the truth, he would draw his conclusions based on comparisons of groups with a high degree of similarity.

So is everyone then conceding that "divorce, welfare, single-parenthood" drive "bad outcomes"?

Step 2,

First of all, you are wrong about Gates. Before he came along, "my guys" at the U of C already did pioneering work in the 90s to figure out what the true percentage of homosexuals are in the American population: http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF08L42.pdf?vm=r

Second of all, if you are going to quote from Ferguson's article, let's hear from the other side:

The criticisms of Regnerus’s paper would be more impressive if they weren’t anticipated and in many cases acknowledged by the author in the same paper being criticized. Regnerus notes explicitly that the study did not identify the sexual orientation of the parents being reported on, and that some of the “gay parents” had little or no contact with their children. He admits that the categories into which he divided respondents were hardly exhaustive: “There are far more ways to delineate family structure and experiences—and changes therein—than I have undertaken here.”

He also addresses the charge of an apples-to-oranges comparison. Measuring children from divorced GFs and LMs against children from intact families, he concedes, is “arguably unfair.” Other sociologists will be free to make comparisons they deem more appropriate. His data set, he says, “enables researchers to compare outcomes across a variety of other types of family-structural history.” And he never speculated on causation—nowhere does he suggest that homosexual parenting or orientation was responsible for the lower outcomes of the children of GFs and LMs.

Whatever its faults, Regnerus’s study has unique strengths, even beyond the size and randomness of its sample, that his critics ignore altogether. His commendable attempt to include a diversity of views among his advisers is rare within the guild, where the leftism is unrelieved. So too were his willingness to immediately publish his research materials online and his pledge to make all his data digitally available this fall. Rather than a study of monochromatic and well-to-do lesbians or gay men, he managed to capture the full ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic range of gay America. And his study is one of the first to systematically measure outcomes from the children themselves, rather than simply through the reports of their parents.

The limitations of Regnerus’s study compare favorably with the shortcomings found routinely in the same-sex literature. It does no credit to the guild that researchers have choked on Regnerus’s paper while happily swallowing dozens of faulty studies over the last 20 years—because, you can’t help but think, those studies were taken as confirming the “no difference” dogma. “If the Regnerus study is to be thrown out,” wrote the Canadian family economist Douglas Allen in a statement supporting Regnerus, “then practically everything else [in the literature] has to go with it.”

The “no difference” thesis was legitimized in a decree issued by the American Psychological Association in 2005. The issue of Social Science Research in which Regnerus’s paper appears coincidentally contains a study of the 59 studies the APA researcher cited in issuing its decree. Its author, Loren Marks, a sociologist at Louisiana State University, quantifies the weaknesses that Regnerus noticed in his reading of the literature.

“More than three-fourths (77 percent) of the studies,” writes Marks, “are based on small, nonrepresentative, convenience samples of fewer than 100 participants.” Nearly half did not use a heterosexual comparison group against which the study group could be measured. Many of those that did have a comparison group measured intact, well-to-do lesbian couples against single-parent heterosexual families. Outcomes were in most cases ill-defined and impossible to quantify: “socioemotional development,” for example, and “sex-role behavior.”

Most of these shortcomings were acknowledged by the researchers themselves in their respective papers, just as Regnerus points out the limitations of his own methods. APA acknowledged the shortcomings too—and then issued its decree anyway, in the most confident terms. But the accumulation of methodological errors calls into question whether any plausible conclusion can be drawn from gay parenting research.

Marks sums it up: “In response .  .  . to any question regarding the long-term, adult outcomes of lesbian and gay parenting we have almost no empirical basis for responding.”

And now, with the publication of Regnerus’s study .  .  . we still don’t.

Will we ever? The guild says no study of the kind Regnerus attempted would be acceptable unless it used a random sample of intact homosexual parents, drawn from a national sample, to measure against the intact biological families. No other comparison could be legitimate. But as Regnerus points out, the number of such parents in the general population is infinitesimal right now. A survey would have to take a national sample of hundreds of thousands of people (and cost millions of dollars) before it could randomly find the 500 or so stable homosexual couples necessary to make an ideal sample of their group.

Of course, with the dawning acceptance of homosexual adoption and homosexual marriage, the number of those couples will presumably increase. Which places policymakers in a double-bind. If they want to decide whether gay marriage and gay parenting are a good idea on the basis of widely accepted scientific studies, they will need a large population of homosexual parents to study, and that population won’t exist until we legalize gay marriage and wait 20 years. Until then, any deficiencies in gay parenting can be blamed on the fact that gays can’t marry.

Finally, the fact that Gates is more concerned about making sure homosexuals can raise children ("“Let’s look at the nature of what was studied,” he said. “For LGBT people, this is about whether or not they can have children. Think about that. These are core, core things about being a human that are at stake. This goes right to their experience as human beings.") tells me all I need to know about Gates and fully justifies the adjective "weaselly". I'll just close with the words of John Paul II on this subject:

4. There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved”.(4)

Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts “as a serious depravity... (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”.(5) This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries(6) and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.

Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided”.(7) They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity.(8) The homosexual inclination is however “objectively disordered”(9) and homosexual practices are “sins gravely contrary to chastity”.(10)

Step2, I looked at the study design and the questions used, and I am having some trouble locating anything that would have been the basis of Gates' comments about the methodology being bad. Can you identify what it is, because I am not seeing it. If it's not the basic design of the sample draw, or the questions, then is it the build-up of statistical results - how the individual responses are grouped together into patterns? Give us some insight here, because it just does not jump off the page.

It's apparent that Step2 didn't bother to actually read the article before commenting. Otherwise he wouldn't have simply reiterated a fact about the research that its own author admitted and that the article itself admitted as if it was a valid complaint. Yes, we know about the apples to oranges, which is the very reason Regnerus himself didn't dare to draw the conclusions that certain others are claiming the research supports. Of course Step2 would have known that had he read the article, or even the research paper itself.

It has, however, done a couple of very positive things.

-- First, since he is making the raw data itself(not just his findings as stated in his paper) available to the public, there is now a huge, truly representative random sampling of adults from a variety of upbringings who answered a more concrete and comprehensive set of questions about their quality of life than existed beforehand at the fingertips of any sociologist who wants to pore over the data. That means that if someone disagrees with his categorizations(which, again, Regnerus himself admitted were more limiting than he would have liked), they are free to reorganize them into different categories and see what results the new categorizations produce.

-- Second, due to this study, we now have a good idea of how much it would cost to do a study large enough to produce, at this time, enough intact homosexual parent families if someone wants to do a more apples-to-apples study in order to produce actual conclusions on how much better/worse one type of family is than the other(something Regnerus himself did not do, by the way).

Honestly, the article isn't written in some strange moon language. There's no reason for Step2 not to know all of this already.

Inside the world of scholarly conversation, what amounts to the hounding of Mr Regnerus arouses fierce debate. But it's too late. Because 'out there', public opinion has already been conditioned to accept same sex 'marriage' (and the adoption of children by homosexual 'couples') as a perfectly reasonable development of an institution that unites one man and one woman and which has existed in all societies since time immemorial.

We can no longer count on the moral sense or even the common sense of the general public to disdain the fantasies of intellectuals. The destruction of Mark Regnerus' career by vindictive ideologues - if that happens - will of course be obscured by arguments about his methodology etc. His case is another of a series in modern times. The 'isms' of our age - homosexualism, feminism, egalitarianism, racism, and all the rest, have run amok in the public square and there's no way of returning them to their academic corral.

"As several of Regnerus’s allies point out, the professional intimidation of Mark Regnerus isn’t about Mark Regnerus—it’s about the next researcher who might attempt a study of gay parenting. The guild has put that poor fellow, crouching under his desk, on notice: Only some findings will be acceptable. (“That’s a nice little tenure-track job you got there. We’d hate for something to happen to it .  .  .”)"

It's not just the social sciences and humanities that exert "politically correct" thinking; it's also some of the harder sciences too.

Biology with the vast majority of academia in favor of neo-darwinian evolution, astronomy with the tenure denial to an academic sympathetic to intelligent design, and to global warming.

we now have a good idea of how much it would cost to do a study large enough to produce, at this time, enough intact homosexual parent families if someone wants to do a more apples-to-apples study in order to produce actual conclusions on how much better/worse one type of family is than the other(something Regnerus himself did not do, by the way).

Well, only if there ARE enough intact homosexual-led "families" (so-called) to find them. I suspect that there won't be for at least another 10 years. We are not just looking for such intact groupings, but for the kids to be 5 and 10 years out of the nest, raised and done and showing their strengths and weaknesses socially. Remember, it has only been 10 years or so since the Lawrence decision. It hasn't been that long since adoption agencies have uniformly turned a blind eye to the gay status of the adopting pair. It may be that the actual number of concrete intact "families" with kids grown and out of the nest numbers in the dozens to maybe a few hundred in the entire US. Not least because there are some very strong threads of intensely promiscuous leanings in the gay communities: their social environment does not frown on high-level promiscuity the way it does with heterosexuals raising kids.

“For LGBT people, this is about whether or not they can have children. Think about that. These are core, core things about being a human that are at stake. This goes right to their experience as human beings."

Right, well Gates explains the intensity of the gays speaking out. He doesn't explain the intensity of the hatred of the scientists who would all but burn Regnerus at the stake if they could. Unless, of course, their hatred is fueled by the very same hatred of sexual morality that gays have: they can't stand the notion that social reality might back up traditional morality, because they are themselves committed to opposing morality. But of course, that simply identifies how they fail to leave their personal desires at the door when they do their "science". Which shows how scientific sociologists really are, doesn't it?

So is everyone then conceding that "divorce, welfare, single-parenthood" drive "bad outcomes"?

As I've stated before, the social sciences are not as reliable as other fields in either their methods or conclusions. To the extent they imitate the hard sciences; they should limit as many variables as possible in order to demonstrate the effects of a single causal factor. That said, the factors mentioned have been shown to increase the risk for bad outcomes, but like most complex things these are not set in stone.

In this instance, publishing his results with some wobbly definitions thrown in is at best premature, at worst false and misleading, no less than the flaws in the studies that motivated his own.

Biology with the vast majority of academia in favor of neo-darwinian evolution, astronomy with the tenure denial to an academic sympathetic to intelligent design, and to global warming.

Galileo wept.

I think it's interesting that Gates can pontificate about the "core of their being" and such for the homosexuals who want to adopt children, etc., thereby all but *trumpeting* his motivation to have outcomes turn out a certain way, and nobody challenges his objectivity except us conservatives. As Jeffrey S. says, the fact that Gates is more concerned about making sure homosexuals can raise children tells me all I need to know about Gates. Let's imagine that Regnerus had announced proudly to some interviewer, "I mean, having both a mother and a father is an extremely core, core thing about a human child that is at stake. This goes right to children's experience as male and female human beings. We can't afford to take chances on not finding the harm that is done to children by being raised by a pair of single-sex parents." Anybody think maybe that would have been considered to undermine his objectivity, hmmm?

"the fact that Gates is more concerned about making sure homosexuals can raise children tells me all I need to know about Gates."

Lydia, the unworthy opponents on the other side could invert your argument and say the same thing about you and I.

Christian Smith has weighed in on this issue here

George Yancey has raised concerns about the "Left's War on Science"

Bradley Wright points out that this affair makes a mockery of peer review. What is it for if soundbites and op-eds can overturn serious research?http://www.patheos.com/blogs/blackwhiteandgray/2012/06/in-appreciation-of-mark-regnerus/


Yes, well, Gates is coming right out and saying it, and no one is calling him on it, are they? No, they aren't. Regnerus's "associations" are being deeply questioned, but no one questions the objectivity of Gates's research on the basis of his evident motivation. Yet do we find Regnerus saying similar things on the other side of the issue? As far as I know, no, we don't.

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