The Left’s War on Science

Chris Moody’s book “The Republican War on Science” took President George W. Bush to task for suppressing scientific efforts that did not match up with his political and religious agenda. Republicans were connected to legislative efforts to stop stem cell and climate change research. Furthermore they were linked to creation science and the dismantling of scientifically based safety regulations. According to Moody, Republicans simply do not have an appetite for scientific findings that do not comport to their political/religious agenda. That is probably true.

                But what if the scientific findings do not comport to the agenda of the Left? Do they have the intellectual fortitude to go with the science instead of their agenda? We have seen the answer to that and unfortunately that answer is no. The recent work by Mark Regnerus on same-sex parenting was such a test for the Left and they failed big time. He found that, contrary to earlier research, there were negative dysfunctions correlated to having same sex parents. As you might imagine his failure to adhere to the orthodoxy of the liberal activists (Imagine that! He only wanted to report his findings.) engendered a firestorm.  One of the other bloggers at B, W and G has already posted a defense of Regnerus (In Appreciation of Mark Regnerus ). But now we have new information. The University of Texas has decided to investigate his research. http://www.statesman.com/news/local/ut-investigates-professors-study-on-children-with-gay-2415276.html It’s official. Let the witch hunt begin!!!

                At first, the attacks on Regnerus’s work consisted of attacks on his methods and the empirical limitations of his research. A lot of it was over the top considering that these academics did not pay much attention to the deeply flawed earlier research that had the proper “politically correct” conclusion and was lauded as evidence that same-sex parenting does not matter. As a scholar I know what research looks like. Perfect research in the social sciences does not exist. Regnerus’s work is not perfect. But his data collection was far superior to the sampling used in previous work on this topic. The way science is supposed to work is that future research addresses the limitations of his work and we gain more knowledge through better studies. But the size of the blowback that he received shows that these individuals are not looking for better studies but want to push their own political agenda through vicious attacks. What made this blowback even worse were the ad hominem attacks. Regnerus was automatically described as a fundamentalist Christian with a far right-wing agenda. I do not know him but I do know that he has conducted research that challenges the efficacy of abstinence only sex education programs. Those findings do not sound like support for a far right-wing agenda to me but hey, why let a few facts get in the way when you are trying to destroy scientific results? If you cannot eliminate the message then take out the messenger.

                All of this blowback was over the top but at least some of it was acceptable if it pertained to his methodology and analysis. But the attempt to investigate his research takes this to a whole new level. (I must say that I am a faithful Longhorn alumni and eagerly await the upcoming football season but it pains me that this is occurring where I received my doctorate.) What business does the university have putting together a panel of mostly non-sociologists to evaluate the work of a sociology scholar? The peer review process is where other sociologists evaluate his research to decide whether his work deserves publication. He underwent that process and the sociologists said “yes”. Why should a university investigate a scholar? If there is evidence of academic malfeasance or falsification of data then such an investigation is in order. What is the crime in this study? Read the article. The crime is that the review process was shorter than normal. The crime was that the journal was extraordinarily efficient!! Oh the horrors of it all.

                I have liberal friends who like to tell me that “reality has a liberal bias.” Well it certainly does when scholars are not allowed to go where the evidence takes them if it violates a progressive political tenet. This is not as much about stopping Regnerus. His work is out there and it will be debated regardless of what is done now. This is about stopping the next scholar who dares to violate the unspoken acceptable conclusions we are to draw from science. We all know that science and scientists are not completely objective. But if we cannot at least make an attempt at being disinterested in the results and not playing to a certain political bias then we do not have science. We have polemic propaganda. There is nothing wrong with polemic propaganda in the right context but it is not science. We should stop pretending that it is science.

                Maybe we can get a little insight into the “Republican war on Science”. There are clearly some indefensible Republican activities. But if Republicans suspect that science is not an open search for the truth but rather merely attempts to reinforce the political aims of the Left, then why should we be surprised that Republicans do not accept global warming, evolution or other scientific ideas connected to progressive political aims. Perhaps the best way to deal with this war on science is not to merely rant against the political party you hate but to produce science open to all possibilities and when the research suggests a finding that is counter to liberal presuppositions that we treat it like we treat the ones counter to conservative presuppositions. Mirroring the proper attitudes and actions for conservatives would go a long way to show how science should be used in our society.

  • http://irritually.org Per Smith

    With all due respect this is an wildly inexact way to characterize his academic critics given that most of them (if not all of them) do not agree with UT’s investigation (or as you call it “witch hunt”). It was a non-academic blogger who asked the university to start the investigation, and as I understanding it obliging that request is a matter of protocol. If you want a clearer picture of where the academic critics stand and how they actually disagree with each other to some degree on the level of appropriate criticism see the comment section here – http://scatter.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/bad-science-not-about-same-sex-parenting/ . One of the few academic critics who has taken the criticism into an actually “political” arena (Philip Cohen) is upfront about it and defends this move based on the fact that Regnerus himself made the topic political when he took it to the media. Cohen claims, in other words, to be responding to Regnerus’ engagement of the topic in the public sphere. Without comment on Cohen’s actual criticisms, or the tone of his writing on this topic (in his personal blog) it is notable that the fact behind his contention is curiously left out of portrayals like the one above. Criticism of Regnerus might be politically motivated at times, but let’s fess up to the fact that the “political” side of this didn’t start with the critics.

    • George Yancey

      It seems pretty naive not to think that such an investigation is due to the political matter of this study. If Regnerus promoted his reserach then so what? That is what we all should be doing as scholars. We should not just talk to each other. This does not make Regenrus a “right-winger” as so many of his critics have contended. I have not read all of the criticism of Regenrus but I have read enough to know that much of it is based on his findings and this has created this atmosphere. Finally as to why I believe it is important to stand up to this, let’s not be naive to think that the purpose of asking for this investigation is to shut up the next person who finds a result that others do not like. If we do not make enough noise so that people can do their research then such bullying will continue to happen.

      • http://irritually.org Per Smith

        Trying to silence criticism of someone’s work by casting it all as viscous but empty politics (as opposed to engaging it in substance) is also a form of “bullying.” I do not deny that there are obvious political motivations at play, but they come from both sides. I guess this is what happens when politics get polarizing whether it’s in the sandbox or in Washington, but it is very disheartening to see in academia. I wont pretend that I think (or thought) that academics aren’t just as human as everyone else, but this level of entrenched rhetoric that just blames the opposition without any self-reflexivity cannot be good for sociology, family studies, or the academy in general. That’s all. Cheers.

        • George Yancey

          I do not think we disagree too much on this. I have hated some of the politics played on the right. But for me to be honest to myself I have to also hate the politics when I see it played on the left. I established in my blog that it is not the criticism that worries me as long as it is about the reserach and not personal attacks but the investigation. I feel comfortable railing against that without feeling like I am bullying others (Really I am the bully? It has been basically me against everyone else in here. If I am a bully I am a very poor bully). I think I am actually asking for self-reflexivity in that we need to consider how we critice other work. We should do so to set up future reseach and at least some of the criticism seems more to destroy his reputation than to go beyond the limitations of his work. That concerns me and I do think that that type of criticism sets researchers up to be investigated unnecessarily by the university
          By the way I did overlook your response. For that I owe you an apology. I tried to find all of the resposnes but I am still learning how this system works and did not go down to the next page. But that is no excuse for my oversight and I hope you accept my apology.

          • http://irritually.org Per Smith

            Of course. Thanks for letting me know it was just an oversight. I understand how hard it must be not to respond to each comment and reply, but it must be exhausting. I’ll give you a break on this thread by letting it die. Cheers.

      • JeffreyRO5

        Again, it’s not a matter of liking or disliking the results, but whether they comport with what the data say, as well as the impact these false conclusions have. You do your friend Regnerus a disservice by responding with dishonesty. Objections to this study are coming from far and wide; it surely can’t be just a case of gay-friendly scholars and medical organizations circling the wagons to protect “the gays.”

        • George Yancey

          I would believe that if some of the garbage I have seen that goes as research was also investigated. I mean some of you are complaining that his limitations were designed to generate certian results. But research that only uses well educated same sex couples does not have limitations desiged to get a certain result? If thsoe studies were being investigated then I would not have written this blog. But why are those inferior studies not recieving criticism far and wide if not the explanation of the political content. If you can provide me an alternative explanation I like to hear it. And by the way Jeffery you do not know much abou the research on the political makeup of social scientists do you? If you did then you would have made the comment of “gay-friendly” scholars. If you knew of that research then you would understand that such a circling of the wagons is a better explanation than an argument that his peer-reviewed research is uniquely awful.

          • kenneth

            I don’t think any of the prior studies had anything like the high profile this one has. Regnerus’ study was very deliberately publicized very widely in the non-academic lay press and the blogosphere. The culture war outfit that paid for the study and the Christian right blogging world put this out there in a big way, representing it as THE definitive body of research. They made some big claims that invited some big scrutiny.

            I don’t think any of the previous studies ever generated a 10th of the buzz this one did. I don’t think it was even possible a few short years ago before everyone had a tablet or iphone and Twitter. I’d also be willing to bet that the Regnerus study had a major PR firm poised to get the story out far and wide. Seriously, how many academic papers on their own ever see the light of day outside of their own discipline, let alone national news? I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it came out that the promotion budget for the Regnerus study was bigger than the project budget of most of the other studies.

            I’m willing to concede that many or perhaps all of the prior studies warrant criticism for design weakness, insufficient sampling etc. The fact that this has not happened, or not happened to your satisfaction, is not good evidence of a massive ideologically based conspiracy. Nor do I think Regnerus’ study is “uniquely awful.” This would be a good opportunity for people in the field to write some review articles analyzing the body of studies done to date so far, dissect their strengths and weaknesses, and discuss what, if anything, has been established and where the next research should focus. My own read of it says that the old studies don’t answer the question with sufficient scope and that the Regnerus study didn’t really even take a serious stab at it. We can talk in circles forever about who got away with what deficient research, but we have to come back to one point: Unless and until we see some reproducible and (reasonably) unbiased true apples-to-apples comparisons of gay and straight parents, science is just, shall we say…voiding into the wind on this issue.

          • JeffreyRO5

            There’s no particular reason to “investigate” or question studies that show gays and straights equally capable of parenting, because that’s the “null hypothesis.” That’s the outcome you would expect, since there’s no particular information or reason to believe that gays do a worse job of parenting than straights, or straights to a better job of parenting than gays. Similarly, studies that conclude that left-handed people do as good a job of parenting as right-handed people would also probably not meet with much scrutiny, since they, too, merely validate what you would expect.

            Unless you have some reason to believe that gay people make worse parents than straight people, that is. Do you? Based on what information?

          • George Yancey

            Kenneth I think you have a very thoughtful response and I do hope that some of this leads to better research. At the very least any new research on this topic will have to be more soundly based than small non-repersentative samples. But for the record I am not some conspiracy theorist nut. I do know about the political dynamics driving this field and it is more that there are unspoken assumptions that drive this process. So if we can use this to weed out inadequate studies then I think we can agree that this process will serve a good end. But it will only serve that end if we get away from only going after studies that do not meet the political norms of the field and upgrade the quality of all studies.

          • George Yancey

            To Jeffery: We have no idea if homosexuality effects parenting until we do the research. Simply because you think there is no difference does not make it so. If you teach intro to sociology then you may play the game of giving the studetns a list of statements they believe is true but research has shown it to be false (i.e. most people work for large coporations). But for me to have confidence in the research it can not be set up in a way to predetermine the outcome. The critics have claimed that Regnerus work does that but clearly a lot of the work before him did so in the other direction. So we need an atmostphere that is relatively free from polical interference. I fail to see why you will not help me to create that atmosphere in the interest of science.

  • http://perrin.socsci.unc.edu Andrew Perrin

    Might I suggest that you actually read the substantive critiques? The problem with the article is not its conclusions. The problem is that it doesn’t advance our knowledge of the subject matter at all because of research design problems. Since the findings aren’t findings, it simply can’t be true that the critiques are anti-scientific as you allege.

    To my knowledge no sociologist has endorsed the scientific-misconduct complaint, so your insinuation that the substantive critiques are the same as the formal investigation is simply spurious.

    Oh, and finally – you say the study is about “same-sex parenting.” It’s not, as the article and many commentaries about it have noted. There were virtually no same-sex parents in the sample. To the extent there is any validity at all, the study is about children whose parents ever had a same-sex romantic relationship, regardless of whether both parents in that relationship parented the child at all, or for how long.

    • George Yancey

      Come on. You know it is the implications of same sex parenting that the critics are reacting to. If there were not implications of that then everyone would chill. Let’s be honest about why this complaint was launched.
      I just wonder how such an flawed study got through a peer review process. Do you think the reviewers were a bunch of right-wingers. If you do then you do not know much about sociologist. His study has limitations. All studies have limitations. But when a study states what people do not want to hear then these limitations become “fatal flaws.”
      Finally let’s be honest. The studies before this one got published with no problem although clearly they had “flaws” much deeper than his study. No one decided to investigate those studies even though they were used in our political ecomomy. Why? If we want studies with no limitations then let’s apply this to all studies. That reveals the hypocrisy that shows what is happening here.

      • JeffreyRO5

        The official complaint is the work of one man, I believe. I don’t see how blaming everyone is useful.

        • George Yancey

          When we do not just critic a scholar’s work and go on to question his motivation then we are creating an atmosphere that allows for such intrusion into science. And I am not blaming everyone but there is an environment here that feeds into this political action. My hope is that we rethink what we are doing to create that environment.

      • http://perrin.socsci.unc.edu Andrew Perrin

        Once again, let me just urge you to read the substance of the academic critiques instead of slinging accusations. Clearly you haven’t bothered to do so. Regnerus himself says it’s not about same-sex parenting!

        • George Yancey

          I have not read all of the critics but most of them. I know it is not directly about same-sex parenting. But do you really believe if there were absolutely no implications about same-sex pareting that he would get all of this attention.?My contention is that it is the political implications of this work that has drawn the abundant criticism and possible investigation. There are about 2 dozen comments criticizing me on this blob but nothing anyone has said here contradicts that contention. Thus I am even more certain that this is more about politics than science.

      • kenneth

        Are you suggesting that because prior studies supposedly slipped through the net without sufficient scrutiny that Regnerus’s work should “get a pass” as well? The fact that some people have a political or bad faith motivation for attacking his work does not negate serious questions about his data and more importantly, his study design. His study did not just “have limitations” as if by some cosmic accident. It had limitations by design, as all studies must.

        The question is, why these limitations and at whose behest were they designed? We have a study design that quite clearly led to a rigged race and which allowed its proponents to make a superficially bold but technically worthless conclusion. We have funding agencies who have a clear agenda and history of single issue advocacy and no record whatsoever of funding basic science for its own sake. It is entirely fair to examine what role they may have had in designing the study or approving its design. I find it very difficult to believe that these political groups would have shelled out the money they did – $750,000 I think – with no strings attached. I also find it hard to believe that any serious scientist would have designed the study the way Regnerus did if he had that kind of money and a truly free hand to follow the evidence where it lead.

        I say let this inquiry run its course. Put everything out on the table so that the study and its results can be judged in light of ALL the facts. I doubt that Regnerus is guilty of any wrongdoing that would cost his his position. His reputation and the credibility of this study may be an entirely different matter. If the facts support a more charitable view of his work than now seems appropriate, let’s have those facts out. If he is guilty of shoddy science, and this inquiry has a chilling effect on future scientists doing shoddy work for grant checks, so much the better.

        • George Yancey

          I agree with the last paragraph and that is what I am argueing should have happened. But do you not see that throwing this to some investigation is couter to lets see what happens in new research. Any new researcher that does not have findings that comport to the acceptable politicla reality can expect to be investigated as well.
          And that is the crux of the matter. My argument is that it is the political implications of his findings that has generated this controversy much more than his actual methods. If it was about methods then other, less rigourous, work would have undergone this scrutiny as well. I point this out not to excuse his work if he did participate in some sort of fraud but to show that this is more about politics than science. No one here has really addressed that question. My critics talk about how bad his work is but they show little concern with bad work that comes up with the conclusions they want.
          Allow me to ask this question. Why is the intentions of the organization relevant only if we are talking about a conservative organization? Are we willing to investigate potention bias in organizations made up by progressives. By the way I am not a political conservative. I am a moderate. I want a scientific atmosphere where we are free to go where results take us rather than take on additional scrutiny when our results do not match up with the powers that be.

          • kenneth

            There’s no question about it: Regnerus took on a highly politicized topic and so he would have attracted a storm of criticism. However, his work would not be getting bogged down by it the way it has if those criticisms were purely political. There are big-time questions and deficiencies about this study and the process used to create it. Yeah, a lot of gay partisan groups are upset about this, but so are a lot of scientists who see the integrity of their entire enterprise being called into question when one of their colleagues appears to be sabotaging the scientific method for pay or ideology. If PFLAG or someone like that funded Rengnerus to produce a study “showing” the opposite results and of such low quality design, I would be equally unhappy. Even if the results comported with my own political views, there would always be this asterisk hanging over the science of it.

            At the very least, Regnerus displayed an incredible naivete in all this. Scientists should always be careful about their work, but when the subject is highly controversial, most investigators know they have to go the extra mile. You don’t publish a “pretty good” study. You wait until you’ve got one that is as airtight and beyond reproach as is humanly possible. I’ll offer one example from my own discipline of biology. Up through the 1940s, protein, not DNA, was considered to be the carrier of genetic information. Most biologists though the very idea of DNA as an information molecule was absurd. When Avery and later Hershey-Chase set out to prove otherwise, they pulled out every stop to back up their work. Nothing shuts up the critics like good, methodologically sound, reproducible data and transparency of potential outside agendas and conflicts of interest. Regnerus doesn’t have that going for him and so he has little defense against the political or scientific attacks.

            As to the bias question, it can be a factor whether those biased are conservative or liberal or anything. What’s particularly troubling here is that the study was funded by organizations which have no interest in science beyond single issue advocacy. There’s not even a whiff of objectivity about it.

          • JeffreyRO5

            Why do you keep insisting that this study is being questioned because it didn’t reach politically correct results? Whose politics? Don’t you find it ironic that Regnerus embarked on the study in response to politically driven concerns that too many studies were confirming that gay and lesbian parents are no better or worse than straight parents? He says so in the Social Sciences Research article. Although studies that find that gays parent no better or worse than straights is merely confirming the null hypothesis, Regnerus must have had some belief that gays have to be worse parents, not equal parents, in order to question these previous studies. Otherwise, why would he set out to find differently than the 60 or so studies already done?

          • JeffreyRO5

            Is someone stopping you from investigating other studies designed to satisfy political agendas?

          • George Yancey

            With all due respect Kenneth social science is not biology. You almost never have complete confidence in a result. There are almost always limitatons and critics in even the best of work. I speculate that Regnerus could have done all that his critics are screaming about and they would have found some other limitation. Do I know this for certain. No. But the level of controversy on this particular research clearly indicates that this is likley the case. Furthermore if we are going to set a high standard for him then let’s set a high standard for everybody. Part of my argument is that we have had a low standard for reserach that develops a conclusion that same sex parenting is benign. It may well be but let’s have the same standard for that work that we want for this one. As a scientists I am sure you can appreciate such a request.

          • George Yancey

            Once again Jeffery read the literature of the political makeup of academics. Then you will not have to ask “who’s politics.” While you are at it read literature from Feminist theory, Afrocentric theory and Queer theory. If we take them at their word objectivity is not the main goal but protection of the rights of the minority. Laudiable goals but not science. If you are serious about cleaning up bias in the sciences then you would support invesitation of work from these fields as well.
            Did Regnerus suspect that he would find the results he found. I have read where he did not think the results would be this way but if he did then so what. That is what we call a hypothesis. If he expected worse outcomes but had research that possibly would have found no or better outcomes then it really does not matter that he had an hypothesis. In fact that is how science is done.
            And as to the claim that his word was publish, yes it was. And after a peer review process. In my article I argue that criticism of his work, as long as we are not engaging in personal attacks, is relevant. The inquiry, when we will not do so with other work is the suppression. Once again not of this particular study but of future studies. Do you really think that a future researcher who obtains similar findings will not be hesitant to publish those findings given the political atmosphere of academia?

        • JeffreyRO5

          What shocked me was how he decided to identify gay parents, using “had an affair” as a filter. Did he betray a bias that gay people are unfaithful or promiscuous, or was he just trying to eliminate more competent gay spouses, who were faithful and therefore more likely to be better parents, with better child-rearing outcomes? Maybe he just wanted to ensure he got a higher number of households in fractured or stressed condition, which he knew would yield more negative outcomes.

          I also found it interesting that instead of weighing the relative success of straight and gay parents, he chose instead to measure the degree of relative failure. I imagine it’s more dramatic and impactful to conclude that a child is more likely to do something bad, than to merely not do something quite as well. I guess it makes for better copy when you say, “the children of gay parents are more likely to contemplate suicide” than to say, “the children of gay parents as less likely to attend graduate school.”

  • Muscat

    So, a fact-finding inquiry into whether there was any scientific misconduct (not a formal investigation or disciplinary action: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/07/13/ut-austin-scrutinizes-ethics-controversial-same-sex-parenting-study), prompted by a critical letter from a freelance blogger, is the equivalent of coordinated attacks on scientific concepts and research at the highest levels of politics. Got it.

    Regenerus’s study recieved attention and critical blowback because of a coordinated media campaign by people associated with the study – a media campaign that smacked of “polemic propaganda” – and because Regenerus made claims in the study and in the media which were not in line with what his data was able to support. Most notably, the data analysis in question does not actually support claims about “same-sex parenting.” Of course, academic critics were not the initiators of the scientific misconduct complaint, but don’t let that stop you from intertwining them as if they were one and the same.

    Finally, it is downright intellectually dishonest to report that questions about the review process were simply because it was unusually short or “too efficient” – unless you actually are ignorant of what the concerns are, but I’m not sure that’s any better.

    • George Yancey

      If we investigate all studies with such limitations then fine. But we know that there are more deeply flawed studies tht will never be investigated. The academic critics were not the initiators but they did help to create an atmosphere that led to this. The type of comments many academics made were towards his motivation instead of methods. So the basis was not become the peer review process was too short. Then what is basis of investigation of peer review reserach if this is not politially driven.

  • JeffreyRO5

    Oh brother, another unsatisfied customer! First, you are an alumnus of the University of Texas, not an “alumni”. Second, brother Mark didn’t have any evidence, beyond two (two!) same-sex couples upon which to reach the astounding conclusion that same-sex parenting produces defective results. Can I get a “Praise the Lord!”? Not surprisingly, colleagues in his field, including full professors in his own department, are rejecting his bizarre conclusion about same-sex parenting. Maybe they don’t feel like seeing their academic field and/or their department made to look like a laughing stock.

    His data will soon be out in the public domain. His data show that mixed-orientation marriages, where one person is gay and the other straight, lead to divorce, and poor outcomes for children. The strongest policy finding from his data set may be that because mixed-0rientation marriages so often lead to poor outcomes for children, we should discourage them, by legalizing same-sex marriage. That’s probably not exactly what Professor Regnerus had in mind when he drew his out-of-the-blue conclusion that gay people are defective parents. Whether he likes it or not, he has handed the supporters of legal same-sex marriage a marvelous tool they can use in the courts, in legislatures and in swaying public opinion. And since you strongly support Prof. Regnerus’ research, I know you’ll be first in line to support that opinion.

    • George Yancey

      In the sciences we are suppose to look for information and if that information aids political groups we disagree with we should go with it if true. If we start politically vetting science then is it no longer science. All I am stating is that the left does politically vetting as well as the right when they get the chance.

      • JeffreyRO5

        Yeah, “if it’s true.” We have no way of knowing if gay parenting is is responsible or not for unfavorable outcomes, compared to straight parenting. Mr. Regnerus’ comparison is fraudulent, given the differing family structures he compared. It will be interesting to see comes of all this.

        • George Yancey

          But his research can lead to other studies that can tease this out if we can maintain an atmosphere of free inquiry. I actually think that the biggest contribution of his work is the way it reveals how other research on this topic has been so lacking although it has been used for political purposes. If future research states that there is no real effects of same-sex parenting then fine. But then ironically we will get that research due to the results Regnerus has generated.

          • JeffreyRO5

            Why must fraudulent research be done, in order to propel subsequent research forward? Why not do authentic and valid research, with the usual caveat, “here’s what we still don’t know”? I’ve never heard someone say, let’s get folks to do research, by creating some fake research and making an outrageous (and false) claim that is insulting to people!

          • George Yancey

            You have evidence that it is fraadulent and not bad, or as I see it limited? By all means produce that evidence. Perhaps this investigaton is in order after all.

          • Brian Westley

            Hey, he SAID it was fraudulent; unless you consistently demand evidence for any and all claims made in these comments, you should just let his claim slide and accept it.

            Right?

          • George Yancey

            Link? If he said his study was fradulent then it is case over. But that seems so unrealistic that I need some evidence of that.

  • Pingback: Assorted Links (7/15/2012) | Jim Garven's Blog

    • Rick Gibson

      The point that this article is simple and obviously true. When science delivers results which offend people for either political or religious reasons, the people who are offended tend to attack the scientist. Both the Left and the Right do this. Thus, if you care about scientific objectivity, you should defend science against attacks from both sides. That is what this article was doing. I find it astonishing that so many people would react with so much anger to such a simple and obviously true argument. Truth seeking is not very popular, on either side.

      • JeffreyRO5

        I think a better way to frame it is that a lot of people have an interest in seeing academic integrity retained. Faulty research, especially when it harms people, is doubly egregious.

        • George Yancey

          To Jeffery’s concern I would just say And lets retain it as long as it is politically expeditant for us but let us not worry about it in reserach that supports our politcial values right?

      • Deacon Jim Stagg

        Thank you, Rick, for a considered reply. Thank you, George, for an excellent article.

        • George Yancey

          Thank you for your kind comments. Nice to know that not everyone coming to this blog disagrees with it.

      • http://irritually.org Per Smith

        How do you figure that this is what the article is doing? In this very case there is politics coming from left and right and this article pretends that it is only coming from the left. In fact I wrote about this in my answer to Yancey’s reply to my comments above but for some reason they aren’t getting through moderation. Given that there is nothing uncivil about them I sure hope it’s just an oversight. Cheers.

        • George Yancey

          I have approved all comments thus far. I do not think I can be accused of running away from this argument. I will look for your comment to see if I overlooked it. But for now let me say that in the very initual entry I state that I do not support interference from the right. My argument is that it comes from the left as well not that it does not exists from the right. I think any fair reading of my comments would state as much.

  • Scott Rose

    Darren Sherkat, Editorial Board Member of the Elsevier journal Social Science Research, which published the Regnerus study, told me in an e-mail, apropos of the Regnerus study, that “The peer review process failed here.” There is a sine qua non of validity to any study that makes a comparison between a “test group” and a “control group.” Regnerus made no valid comparison between his test group and his control group, ergo, his study is not valid. That is what Dr. Nathaniel Frank meant, when, writing in The Los Angeles Times, he said that Regnerus “fails the most basic requirement of social science research — assessing causation by holding all other variables constant.” An analysis of the Regnerus study contained in a brief filed by eight major professional associations including the American Medical Association reaches that same conclusion. The AMA brief is here: http://tinyurl.com/7g55hzt

    • George Yancey

      That is his opinion. But it is the system we have. If we want to state that the peer review process fails whenever this is a limitation to a study and it is a result we do not like then there really is no peer review process. There is the use of science to push certain political agendas.

  • kenneth

    Regnerus is not some martyr figure who is being persecuted because he had the “courage” to follow the evidence where it may lead. People are raising serious questions about his work and his integrity as a scientist. The study design and execution were so shabby that it is fair to question whether or not he produced any data and conclusions of value or originality.

    The fact that it made it through one journal’s peer review process is not the golden seal of quality some have made it out to be. Different journals have different standards, and some are pretty minimal. Another factor to consider is that the relative drought of research into this topic will tend to push editors and review boards into considering things they might not pass if there had been a body of quality research out there. Having worked in some labs that do real science, I can say that no PI I ever worked for would put his lab’s name on a body of work with such glaring deficiencies as Regnerus’s study. Yes, he made the proper disclaimers about the limitations of his work, but a poor body of work that is properly annotated and self-effacing is still a poor body of work.

    To me, the most disturbing aspect of Regnerus’s work is that he essentially designed a study to confirm the biases of his funding patrons, who had no objective interest in scientific findings. They wrote the conclusion of the study in the proposal, and Regnerus custom built a study that was essentially guaranteed to lead the report to that pre-determined conclusion. I don’t know whether he did so out of personal agreement with his patron’s religious convictions or some other reason. It really doesn’t matter. He betrayed the integrity of science as a discipline to be used (and abused) in the service of an obviously biased political cause. Is he the first to do that? No. Nor is it something unique to the right or left of the political spectrum. It is all too common, but it deserves contempt wherever it arises.

    • George Yancey

      I have already said that debating the methods of his work is what scientist should do. Investigating his work without real cause is not what we should be about. I do not know his motivations and neither do you. Given his previous reserach I do not think that the “fix was in.” However I am glad that you admit that science with pre-set conclusions does occur regardless of political identity but we should be careful to blow off research as a result of personal bias simply because we do not like the results.

  • Tony

    George,
    I think you raise some important points, but don’t you think that many are simply responding to Mark’s aggressive self-promotion of the study (i.e., the Slate article) rather than the substantive findings themselves?

    • George Yancey

      That may be the case for some critics. I still do not think it justifies an investigation.

      • JeffreyRO5

        What investigation? There is an inquiry in place, based on the University of Texas policy of launching one if someone requests one. Just are you seem certain that objections to Mr. Regnerus’ study are based on his unflattering findings, you seem certain that an inquiry is also based solely animosity. Are you sure there are no valid reasons to review the process for how this research study came to be?

        • George Yancey

          I would like for there to be some evidence that we need to investigate a study or investigate all studies that people question. Do we really think that this is the result of a single complaint? That may be offically true but it done in a certain political context where the Univeristy feels the need to take the concern seriously. I am sure that the university gets a lot of complaints about research that is conducted, even it is not an official investigation inquiry. So why take this one person’s complaint so seriouly except for the atmosphere some are creating about this.

          • JeffreyRO5

            I think one man filed an inquiry request. In separate events, family scholars across the country cried foul because of faulty methodology. And the nation’s leading medical organizations had to file a counter-amicus brief in a DOMA lawsuit because anti-gay critics are now using Regnerus’ “study” against gay people. I think at some point, as gallantly as you are to defend your friend, you may actually be making things worse. I’m not saying you need to admit he screwed up, but you are kind of keeping the story alive here. I just read that some newspaper is now requesting all documents relating to the study and correspondence between Regnerus and the funder under a freedom of information request. This thing keeps getting bigger.

          • JeffreyRO5

            The university has said on the record that it gets few requests, if any, in any given year, to have its research reviewed. That’s from the UT press officer.

            It only takes one person to request an inquiry. The University can’t help but notice that a national outcry is also erupting in the background. That does lend gravity to the situation but the policy is, if an inquiry is requested, it is launched, regardless of any other information or circumstance.

          • George Yancey

            I wrote a blog. The response to the blog is keeping it alive to the degree that more than a few people are paying attention. I do not think that this blog is triggering the freedom of information act but thanks for providing more informati0n about the discrepancy of treatment of research that is not PC. By the way he is not what you would call a friend. I think I met him once. But the issue of treating scientific studies without political bias is an important one for me. That is why I am willing to take this on and spend so much time answering critics.

  • MumbleMumble

    You are comparing the Left’s reaction to one (deeply flawed) article to the Right’s reaction to over a hundred years of research by countless sociologists, biologists, geologists, geographers, climatologists, chemists, anthropologists, historians, physicists, astronomers, and everyone else I’m missing.
    Do you feel that this is a fair comparison?
    Also, I did read the article. In addition to the shortened review process, the article highlights the anti-gay funding agencies for the project, as well as “egregious yet strategic decisions in selecting particular groups for comparison.” Why didn’t you mention that?

    • George Yancey

      Because it is irrelevant unless we want to question the political biases of all groups that support studies. Unless we are naive enough to believe that there are not certain political desires of reviewrers of the grants so many researchers use. I am about treating his research like we treat other research. As far as comparison I would argue that the way the Left is reacting would generally be more internal to the scientific institution and thus less likely to be public than the Right’s attempt at interference. This is becasue progresses are highly overrepersented in academia. This case has brought it out more but it is likley that there are other more sublte ways the Left stops research it does not want.

      • MumbleMumble

        I don’t think that it is not irrelevant when viewed within the context of the entire story.
        One of the side effects of the large level of publicity that this article received was that Dr. Regnerus wrote several pieces talking about it, as well as defending it. On Slate.com there was an exchange between him and one of Slate’s contributors. Throughout all of this, and despite direct questions concerning it, Dr. Regnerus has NEVER acknowledged the principle mistake that he made in his analysis – that he was not comparing stable, same-sex couples to stable, heterosexual couples – and that, as a result of that mistake, he couldn’t very well speak to the efficacy of same-sex parents. Instead, he reiterated that the intact, biological family was the best environment in which to raise kids, better so than same-sex parents. Due to this repeated denial of the basic reality of his study, in conjunction with a funding agency that has a vested interest in a particular outcome, do you think that it is at least possible that scientific misconduct occurred?
        Also, props on responding to everybody.

        • George Yancey

          Thanks for the props. I like a good debate. Is is possible? Of course it is possible. I will even grant you that the political nature of the organzation can play an role in how the reserach is done. But it is also possible that a lot of studies are at the behest of the political ideals of a particular organization or the reviewers in that organization. If we are going to go down this route then we have to look at the motivations of all organizations and not just the conservative ones.
          Believe it or not I really see this as an opportunity for us to do better science. Let there be better studies that get at same sex parenting. I am willing to accept those studies if well done that show no real differences. But I reserve the right to dismiss research in his area if I feel that political, rather than scientific, interest drive such research. The way people have jumped on Regnerus research but not theweaker research before it makes me suspecious of that political interest. So I think the possiblity of previous bias is not limited to Regnerus.

          • MumbleMumble

            I agree that misconduct and corruption are certainly not exclusive to conservative groups. In regards to previous research, it will depend on the specific study. Most of the complaints against previous work have been that it’s used non-random sampling, due to the difficulty in obtaining any same-sex couples. Self-selection bias becomes a problem then, as well as other statistical issues. However, previous studies have acknowledged these problems, but still tried to do the best that they could with what they had. What Dr. Regnerus did was to do a much better job at data collection, but then to distort that data into something that it wasn’t. On top of that, as I said before, he never acknowledged this error. In my opinion, his was a much more dishonest approach than previous work.
            A caveat to that last statement, I am referencing a body of work there, not any individual studies.

          • George Yancey

            I think we can agree that there will now be an effort to rebut his work. Just this very effort brings value to what he has done. That is what I would like to see what happens instead of this level of controversy. So my contention is that let’s criticize his work. Likly he or someone else will do reserach that addresses his shortcomings and let’s be willing to look at the results for what they are despite political implications. If we can agree to that then let all scholars, both on the left and the few on the right, oppose in the strongest terms efforts to shut people up as this “inquiry” is designed to do.

  • John Riley

    This post is surprisingly visceral, for such a (generally) intelligent and productive blog.

  • Donalbain

    Man does poor study. People point out that study is poor. Man is obviously a persecuted martyr.

    • George Yancey

      If man is only one who does poor study then fine. We should investigate this one “poor study” in this world. And it is the investigation that I am protesting not arguments against it although I think some of the arguments are over the top.

  • Michael

    Regnerus study was deeply flawed in its premise and construction. If someone’s parent had had a one night stand with a person of the same sex they were defined as coming from a same sex household. The study actually compared a stable family background with an unstable family background. Had its point been to compare what portion of heterosexual families are stable as compared to what portion of same sex families are stable, perhaps the results would have been of interest. Sorry, your remarks are a big time fail.

    • George Yancey

      Nothing in your remarks address my main contention that the investigation is not founded. Before you decide to “fail” my remarks it would be nice to actually address them.

      • JeffreyRO5

        There is no investigation, yet. There is an inquiry. A sloppy study, a sloppy defense. Compounding errors alert!

        • George Yancey

          My contention stands unless we are going to have an inquiry of every sloppy study out there, but where there is no evidence of falisfication or ethical issues.

          • JeffreyRO5

            I’m not really getting the “everybody else does it, too!” defense. Are you admitting that Regnerus’ study was sloppy/politically motivated, but he’s being singled out for it, for some reason? I’m not sure exactly where you’re headed.

          • George Yancey

            It simple. Regnerus study is a step up from the previous studies on the topic. This is not my area of expertise but I like to see further studies. But if you want me to beleive those future studies I have to have assurance that there is not political interference. That is why I am not getting into the weeds of critquing the study but more in critiquing the political response to the study. I also question the wisdom of assessing political motivation to his study and only his study when you can certainly find evidence of political motivation in a lot of studies in academia. Treat him the same as everyone else and I am happy.

          • http://perrin.socsci.unc.edu Andrew Perrin

            George, I think this is where your case is wrong:
            “Regnerus study is a step up from the previous studies on the topic.”
            For reasons that have been outlined now ad nauseam, the study is not a step up from the extant literature. Certainly the sampling procedure is a step up (though still quite flawed), but the measurement is such an enormous step down that the study literally does not advance the state of knowledge on same-sex parenting at all. After the study we know nothing more about the topic of interest than we knew before the study. All the reasons for this are contained in the substantive critiques available online by me and by Philip Cohen.
            None of this gets at the question of the UT inquiry, which is the result of a complaint by an unrelated person, but which you have inaccurately suggested is related to the substantive critiques.

          • George Yancey

            If you have looked at the comments here you see that the criticisms are not just about his methods but also about his motivations and religion. When you have comments like this you are going beyond the normal criticsm that we should dole out. I am not stating that this is your complaint but certainly you have seen these sorts of attacks. We are sociologist. We know that complaints like this do not happen in a vaccum. They happen because some of the attacks look to deligitmate the research rather than improve future research. I think that should be a concern for all of us unless we are okay with others investigating our motivations and religious/political beliefs.

          • http://perrin.socsci.unc.edu Andrew Perrin

            OK, George. In that case, you should specify which of the critiques you consider beyond the pale and focus your own criticism on those. By not bothering to distinguish among the wide variety of people who have offered critiques of the study, you perpetuate the dynamic you claim to dislike.

          • George Yancey

            That is a fair answer Andrew. To be fair in my blog I did state that methodogical criticism was fair game and I was concern with the personal attacks and investigation. So allow me to clairfy that once again. I still believe his work attracted more criticism than normal because of political dynamics but as long as they are real academic critques then he just has to address them.

  • http://Templeofthefuture.net James Croft

    In order to establish your argument, you would need to provide a concrete example of a study with different findings, with equally flawed design, which was promoted similarly, and which has been treated in a wildly dissimilar way. So far you have merely referred obliquely to flaws in other studies and have asserted that such studies were both equally flawed and treated differently. This does not make your case. Can you provide one study with different conclusions on the same topic which has clearly similar design flaws which has been treated differently? I’d want a citation to the study and links to articles or other information about how that study was promoted and treated. Otherwise you have no specific case – only an unsubstantiated allegation.

    • George Yancey

      I can but I do not want to get into the business of tearing about other studies needlessly. I will not provide the name of the study in public but I use a study as an example of a bad study in my Race/Ethnicty class where the author uses interviews of about thirty respondents to “prove” that racism is bad among middle-class blacks. It gets worse. He picked those thirty respondents out of about one hundred and twenty interviews. I think all of the criticism applied to Regenus can be applied here to some degree. A research designed created for a certain results. A certain political motivation driving the study. But this study comes to a policial conclusion on the persistence of racism that is acceptable and so it will not be challenged like Regenus. Do you beleive that Regenus study is the worse one that can be found in peer review journals? It is unquely awful. If not then way all the attention. If we are going to be honest with ourselves we have to ask those questions.

  • travshad

    There is no investigation. The University conducts an inquiry on all allegations of misconduct, if there is no basis there will be no investigation. Regnerus is actually being treated like everyone else.

    From the Daily Texan ( http://dailytexanonline.com/node/14108 ) :

    David Ochsner, director of public affairs in the College of Liberal Arts, said the study is still in the inquiry phase and a formal investigation will not begin unless compelling evidence of scientific misconduct is discovered.
    “Anytime somebody makes an allegation like that, it automatically triggers what we call an inquiry, which is just a preliminary fact-finding exercise,” Ochsner said. “In an inquiry, we’re just acknowledging that there has been an allegation made.”

  • Pingback: The Left’s War on Science: A Case Study Regarding Same-Sex Parenting « GeorgePWood.com

  • Stanley Loper

    This isn’t really news to me:

    When I attended college in the early 1990s a bit late in life there was a big firestorm about the research of a criminologist, Dr. Gary Kleck. He was basically denounced and pilloried in public by colleagues and the press alike. But here’s the problem, he was right. There may be some room for question as to the magnitude of his findings as to how many times annually firearms are used in legitimate self defense but his essential findings have been proven over time. Dr. Kleck is liberal, very liberal and the last I heard still supports gun control; he just admits that it is on political grounds instead of scientific.

    The “research” of those who led the pack in the scientific communality against him has been proven wrong a long time ago. The flaws in their research was known even then, but the scientific community looked the other way and their “research” still gets widely cited in the media and legal briefs to this day. In the climate science arena the studies refuting the “research” of Mann and Biffra are mounting with a study quietly being published July the eighth By Jan Esper et. al. in the prestigious “Nature Climate Change” which not only debunks the afore mentioned scientists, but even shows the earth has undergone a net cooling over the last two millennium which it attributes to Earth’s drift away from the sun. Yet what have we seen and heard the last several weeks? More comments by a left-dominated media on our record breaking hot summer here in the United States and scientists attributing it to “man-made” global Warming. Apparently the facts don’t count.

    The problem, in a short statement, is that for the left everything must serve the political good, including science. Politics defines reality and science must fall in line with the revolution, period. We need to get the politics out of the realm of science. But alas, like Michael Chricton, when he penned the afterword to a later edition of “The Eaters of the Dead” after it was renamed “The 13th Warrior” in the 1990s, I’m not very confident that is going to happen.

  • Dave in Raleigh

    The comment stream here demonstrates the premise. If I had to choose between the right’s disregard for politically inconvenient data and the left’s suppression of politically inconvenient data, I’d take disregard every time.

    • JeffreyRO5

      I don’t think faulty academic work need be a political issue. Conservatives and liberals alike can certainly agree that academic work needs to follow certain principles and guidelines. I don’t see any politics in this, other than the anti-gays using this faulty study as a weapon against gay people.

    • Michael

      I was under the impression that Regnerus’s study was actually published, hence the discussion. Perhaps I was in error and this is but a dream as you apparently have some special knowledge of its being suppressed. Sorry, but there is overwhelming evidence that the right wishes to suppress science that is not in accordance with their beliefs.

      • George Yancey

        The evidence of suppression of the left is clear to see in the investigation. You can read my other comments about how this is unlikely to happen with research that affirms progressive causes or that we only question the motivations of conservative funding organizations. I submit that the evidence from the right is overwhelming only because it is external. It is non-scientists that try to suppresse work. I suspect that the suppression of the left is internal. I am not just going on this particualr incident. In my book “Compromsing Scholarship” I show that scholars state that they are less willing to hire those who are religious or political conservatives. Not going to get a lot of research to supress if you do not allow those conservatives into academia in the first place. So I would submit that we do not know how much progressives suppress research relative to how much conservatives suppress research because of subtle internal mechanism that are used generally are not public. This case is unusual because the attempt at suppression is very public.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Allow me to present the data this way-

    Regnerus,”We had only two cases in which mom and her partner were together for 18 years. We’ve got only six cases where mom and her partner were reported to have stayed together for 10 or more years, and 18 cases for five years. We’re still seriously in small-sample-size territory, prone to making what’s called a Type II error, meaning we could erroneously conclude that there are no differences when there really are. How about those 81 cases wherein respondents reported living with mom and her partner for at least a good share of a year or more?”
    2 -18 Years
    6 – 10 Years
    18 – 5 Years
    Total 26 Long Time
    81 cases of living with mom and her partner a good share of a year or more. (short time)

    26 (long time)+81 (short time)= 107

    175 respondents
    175 – 107(Long and short time) = 68 (39%) who NEVER LIVED WITH THEIR MOTHER AND THEIR MOTHERS GIRL FRIEND

    AND the way he writes about the 81 it is not crystal clear to me that included in that 81 isn’t the 26 Long Time numbers as well.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/features/2012/gay_parents_study/gay_parents_study_mark_regnerus_and_william_saletan_debate_new_research_.html

    Yancy, how much do you know about your parents sex life? I can assure you I know nothing about my parents sex life. Regnerus is literally slapping a Lesbian Label on women with no data to support that. He inappropriately used an Orientation Label of Lesbian, at the very most he should have used a behavior label of MSM (Men Who have Sex With Men) or WSW (Women Who Have Sex with Women). He never interviews the parents to ask what their sexual orientation is. Just as you do not know your parents sex life, neither did these survey respondents. We don’t know if any of them had sex with another man or another woman. Just because a woman, that the daughter claims was her mothers girlfriend lived with you four four months, does not prove there was any sex, or that these two women considered themselves lesbains. I lived with my girlfriend sharing an apartment and I am not a lesbian, there was no sex between her or me nor any romance. On page 7 in the 4th paragraph of Regnerus report he even says well we don’t know for sure if they are lesbains or not, but nevertheless I am simply going to slap on the ORIENTATION label of Lesbian on these women. This would be the equivalent of studying people from the Congo and finding people who said they “thought” their parents were from the Congo and making conclusions about people from the Congo, when 39% of them were actually from Senegal. (39% never lived with their mother and their mother’s girlfriend), 39% were from Senegal. Misstating, or I would say in Regnerus’ case he deliberately mislead, someones national origin is equivalent to misstating someones sexual orientation.

    See Yancy, I don’t think you have studied the report, the questionnaire (code book) the Survey Design or Survey Instrument Documents and yet you are jumping to conclusions that this is an unjustified Leftist attack. It is not, this is bad science that Regnerus is personally promoting and it hurts sexual minorities, his misrepresentations could deny people Civil Rights.

    Let’s take this scenario one step further, let’s say your latest and greatest research on Congolese people had great interest to our government for decisions in Foreign Aid since this is purported to be the BEST research EVER, the government would use this to grant an increase or decrease in Foreign Aid. Do you think the Congolese people would *not* protest loudly that in fact this latest and greatest research on the Congo has 39% Senegalese people in it? And suppose there was a finite amount of resources to be divided between Senegal and the Congo and the person who did the research was Senegalese and this report meant that Senegal would get more and the Congo would get less. Do you think official inquires would be demanded of the Senegalese researcher and the Senegal Government who funded the report?

    Regnerus makes no bones about his Catholic Faith and how he wants his work to benefit his Catholic Church (December 2011), and his Catholic Church is doing everything in it’s power to stop Same Gender Civil Marriage, adoption rights well actually ANY rights for sexual minorities.
    http://icl.nd.edu/initiatives-projects/catholic-social-and-pastoral-research-initiative/researcher-highlights/

    Now go back and think again what I wrote about above how Regnerus himself says “Well we can’t actually prove sexual orientation, but I am just going to slap those labels on anyway.” So what if you are really from Senegal, I am simply going to say for ease of my research, that you are from the Congo.

    This research was started right after the August 4, 2010 Decision in the Prop 8 Trail. Dr. Loren Marks declined to be an Expert Witness in the Prop 8 Trial after he gave his deposition and was decimated by the Plaintiffs Attorney David Boies. In the Prop 8 Trial the Defendants did not have one shred of scientific evidence to make their case on, I mean not one. I have read the entire trial transcripts. This research did not happen in a political vacuum. Immediately after the Court decision in Prop 8 Regnerus’ gets $875,000 in Funding from right wing anti gay organizations to fund research on gay parenting. Yancy if you are intellectually honest you have to agree that this research project was not motivated for pure scientific research, there was an agenda and Regnerus couldn’t deliver because he didn’t find straight up lesbian couples and straight up gay coupled fathers (in fact he found NO gay fathers in long term relationships) . And when he didn’t find them, he twisted that data to *make it look like he did*. And then he went out on the stump and LIED about it, and that lie is here.
    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/302455/mom-and-dad-make-difference-kathryn-jean-lopez

    Regnerus claims THREE Times that his study PROVES the GOLD STANDARD that Mommy+Daddy is the Gold Standard. That is a lie, because he never found mommy+mommy or daddy+daddy and compared them to mommy+daddy so no way can he claim a Gold Standard which he does three times. He is misleading the public.

    What he found were people who were conceived in mommy+daddy, and MAYBE either mommy or daddy had a gay fling. Maybe there was a gay fling. Maybe.
    His misrepresenting Sexual Orientation Labels (Senegal), claiming a Gold Standard, yes those are both unethical (lying is unethical) violations in research that will be used to inform the public on a matter of great national importance, this subjects you to an ethics investigation, and this investigation is heightened because of the people who funded him, and his stated fealty to his anti gay Catholic religion. Let’s see those e-mails.

    And not only that, but he didn’t clean his data, example the person who said they had 22 abortions. I could go on and on about his dirty data, just read his code book, but I think I have made my point. He didn’t have time to clean his data in his rush to publish in the July print issue, which would guarantee that no rebuttals would be published until, wait for it, NOVEMBER. No rebuttals until NOVEMBER, by publishing in the July issue, thus no time to look at the outliers and scrub your data.

    His famous calendar in his documentation found in Survey Instrument,
    does not list an option that your mother lived with a female friend. Just like I lived with my non sexual non romantic girlfriend when I was young. The only option was your “mother’s girlfriend/partner”. Females “just friends” live together sometimes, but this was not an option for Regnerus, if your mother lived with her just a friend everyone would HAVE to pick “mother’s girlfriend/partner” and get your time spent in living in the “just a friend” household as living with 2 lesbians.

    And as for Foster Care that people who had a lesbian mother or a gay father end up more often in Foster Care, you do know that in the era that these people grew up in, if you were accused of being a lesbian the State came in and took away your children and put them in Foster Care. JUST BECAUSE YOU WERE A LESBIAN. As late as 1995, Mary Ward’s daughter was taken away, solely because Mary was a lesbian, and placed with the father – even though he’d done time in prison for killing his first wife. It’s absurd circular logic to take children away from sexual minority parents and then trumpet that this proves their children’s lives are less stable.

    I want a full robust investigation, not just an inquiry.

    • George Yancey

      So you will want a full and robust investitgation of the work that bascially used highly educated same sex parents and come to the conclusion that same sex parenting has no effect right? You have missed my main point and that is the differencital treatment of the shortcomings of the Regnerus and other work that is even worse than his. And I am sure you are intellegent enough not to relate the timing of the work to some big conspiracy. And it is interesting that you are eager to pull in his religious faith. So should we look at the political beleifs of the feminist work out there. After all how can they be unbias since they have an agenda? You see what happens when we start down this road? That is what I am willing to fight against but not just for Regnerus but for all researchers. But if this is going to be the standard then I want us to investigate all researchers so that we can understand their biases not just the ones we disagree with.

      • StraightGrandmother

        Gold Standard? Are you fine with the claims to a mommy+daddy Gold Standard? Did you go read the article I provided a link to where Regnerus claims a Gold Standard?

        • George Yancey

          It seems to me that examing possible dysfunctional outcomes or lack thereof is a research question but only if we do not predetermine the outcome to support or refute the traditional family before we do the reserach.

      • StraightGrandmother

        Yancy, “So you will want a full and robust investitgation of the work that bascially used highly educated same sex parents and come to the conclusion that same sex parenting has no effect right”

        Those studies did not mislabel the parents with false orientation labels. Show me one other study besides Regnerus where for example they labeled kids raised by straight parents, and falsely label the parents sexual orientation as the kids being raised by homosexual parents. Just one. What I see you trying to do is evade any discussion of the *specific defects* in Regnerus work and how he goes out to the press and comments to his work. These are pointed out to you, but instead of addressing the defects you respond back with diversionary gross generalizations, “Well your side does it too”.

        Please respond if it is ethical to falsely label women as being lesbian parents if your data does not support that . You bring up a point I, am courteous and respond to the point you bring up. But you are not responding to the specific defects in Regnerus’ work that I bring up.

        • George Yancey

          I am not responding to the specific defects since that gets us away from the subject at hand which is differential treatment of research. I am not saying that your criticsim are without merit but this is not some position paper out there. It was peer reviewed. If he has mislabled then we may be getting false results.I guess using samples that overreperented highly educated lesbians are okay. Does not also give us false results? Even critics of his study acknowledge that his sampling is a step up from previous work.
          You comments seem to argue that this research is uniquely awful. So please give me an earilier study on this very topic that is superior to this one. Not just better in labeling but also in sampling and analysis. As you can tell I will not be very impressed by some conveinecne sample. If you can provide such a study I will take a look at it. If you can not provide such a study then why all the attention to this one study unless there are political dynamics behind the outrage.
          Note that now I am inviting you to compare his work to other work. It is a lot easier to address the weaknesses of research if we do not consider other work. If this is the worse study in the world now you have an opportunity to prove it.

          • StraightGrandmother

            Yancy, again refusing to respond to my points, ” If you can not provide such a study then why all the attention to this one study unless there are political dynamics behind the outrage.
            Note that now I am inviting you to compare his”

            There IS no large random sample that finds straight up lesbains who raised children who were conceived or adopted into that relationship, and these children were only raised by their 2 mothers and are now adults. Regnerus tried to find them and failed, so there is NO Large Random Sample.

            The misrepresentation by Regnerus of his research claiming a Gold Standard of Mommy+Daddy does have political consequences, in fact the VERY day this was published on line the (fake 100 member) American College of Pediatricians filed an Amicus Brief in the Federal DOMA case, Golinski vs OPM that is before the Supreme Court right now for Cert., and a large part of that Amicus Brief is the Regnerus Research. BTW the American College of Pediatricians lie in their Amicus Brief.

            Yancy you can’t pretend that this $875,000 research project does NOT have political uses because it is already being used the same exact day it came on line to present to our Supreme Court. It is not the Left who did that! Who politicized it? The ones who bought and paid for it, the Right. We are simply firefighters trying to put out all these brush fires Regenrus provided the kindling for with his defective research.

            NOW please extend to me the same courtesy I extended to you and tell me if it is Ethical to slap a sexual orientation label onto the people you are surveying if your data does not support that. A yes or no answer Yancy would be appreciated.

            Is it ethical to run out in public and tell journalists that your research PROVES a GOLD STANDARD of Mommy+Daddy when you never found nor did you compare intact Mommy+Daddy to intact Mommy+Mommy or intact Daddy+Daddy. A simple yes or no is preferred.

            We know about these defects and this defective research is being presented to our Supreme Court, did you think that people whose lives are directly and hugely affected by this research will simply roll over? We wouldn’t be screaming if there were no defects, *but there are,* there are defects, and we will pursue every avenue to rectify the misrepresentation. We will. And there is nothing wrong with that. Now Yancy a Yes or No to my ethical questions is appreciated. I responded to your points, I would appreciate it if you would extend me the same courtesy.

          • George Yancey

            To answer your question it is not a matter of ethics but a matter of methodology. If I read a paper that does a terrible job operationalizing a key variable I do not think the author is unethnical. I think the methodology is poorly designed. Perhaps that is what is the difference. I see no reason to attempt to drag that author before a university investigation and every reason to criticise the authors technique. So the clear answer in in my opinion that no this is not an ethnical issue. Now if you really do see this as an ethnical issue then you surely would want to address other research where such misspecificantion is taking place. Surely it is not merely unethical because the results do not conform to expectation. If we are to set this new ethical standard then let’s apply it to all reseach. Do fail to do so is to fail to do science.
            You also ask the question about the ethnical nature of telling individuals that the research does more than it is intended to do. Thus the Gold Standard comment. If that is what he believes then it is not unethical. However, I have heard people argue that previous research proves that same-sex parenting does not matter. Now I know that this research was deeply flawed. I suspect that the authors of that work may be just as guilty of this as Regnerus. I will give them, and him, the benefit of the doubt in that they believed the results of their work. What I will not do is castigate Regnerus and let those on the other side of the quesiton off the hook.
            Scientific reserach will constantly be used by different groups for their own ends. We should not pretend that progressive groups have not used the previous research which was seriously flawed to promote same-sex parenting. The way to deal with it is to have other experts who can point out the weaknesses of the work. So is the principle the use of bad reseach which both progressives and conservatives have done or who gets to use bad research? For me I rather have a scientific philosophy that does not change as the political viewpoint changes.

      • JeffreyRO5

        I realize that previous works may have relied too heavily on “convenience” samples but how does a national random sample that compares outcomes of different-sex intact straight marriages to different-sex stressed or broken mixed-orientation marriages seem like a “full and robust investigation” to you? This apples-to-oranges comparison is amateurish, at the least. If I’m the Chair of a top-ranked Sociology department, I’m a little annoyed that this is the calibre of work my department is producing.

        And on what basis is the gay spouse alone to blame for the “bad” outcomes? There was also a straight parent there, and that straight parent might not be too happy about his or her spouse’s adulterous affair, or the fact that s/he’s married to a gay or lesbian person. Wouldn’t that have an impact on the parenting the children receive, and their outcomes later in life?

        • George Yancey

          All questions to be answered with research that does not predetermine the outcome. Is that not what you want? That is what I am arguing for.

  • JeffreyRO5

    “We have no idea if homosexuality effects parenting until we do the research.”

    But there’s plenty of research on same-sex parenting. It confirms what you would expect: there are no differences of interest between same-sex parents and different-sex parents. You may not agree with that conclusion, but like it or not, the research is there. If you’re saying the research doesn’t exist until someone finds that gays are worse parents than straights, I don’t think it works that way.

    • George Yancey

      It confirms it with flawed samples, more flawed than Regenerus and now we can see that if someone finds the opposite to be true that every rock will be overturned to stop that work. Let me just say that I am less than impressed with the claim that previous work has shown no differences.

      • http://perrin.socsci.unc.edu Andrew Perrin

        You are either intentionally or unintentionally misrepresenting the state of the literature prior to Regnerus’s article. Prior studies using various forms of nonrandom samples failed to demonstrate differences. The claim was not that “there are no differences” but rather that “no research has demonstrated differences.” The former would be confirming the hypothesis that there are no differences; the latter is failing to reject the hypothesis that there are no differences.
        A nationally representative study would certainly be a helpful next step on evaluating the broader question of whether children of same-sex parents show worse outcomes than do children of opposite-sex parents. Although Regnerus’s sampling is far from ideal, it is better than a convenience sample. The problem, though, is that the constructs measured using that sample are entirely unrelated to the question of same-sex parenting! So we have highly reliable results about a completely different question. Because of that, Regnerus’s results are completely consistent with the prior state of the literature: there is still no research demonstrating differences between the children of same-sex parents and those of opposite-sex parents.
        Regnerus is very fortunate to have friends and colleagues willing to cry “persecution” when these basic facts are pointed out, since without that noise machine there would be no reason to pay any attention at all to the study.

        • George Yancey

          If this was left to an argument of his work among those in this subfield it would not have gotten attention. I am reacting to the actions brought about by others, most noteable an unwarrented investigation that I think is clearly politically driven. I thought I established that I was criticizing the personal attacks and the investigation in my last entry. I think I can state that you are intentionally or unintentionally misrepersenting my complaint. Are you saying that speaking out against such investigations and personal attacks is to cry “persecution”? I respectfully disagree.

      • StraightGrandmother

        I thought of a huge random sample in fact the biggest sample size that exists. Rosenfelt out of Stanford, his HUGE sample showed no different to kids with same sex parents. The limitation of the study is that it only answered one question. And the way it answered the question is somewhat clumsy because of the data set Rosenfelt had to work with. Even Regnerus acknowledges the Rosenfelt research as being the only other valid large random sample research, prior to Potter which just came out.

        Rosenfelt looked at the ages of the children and what grade in school they were in. If a kid was held back then he would be older than the norm for what grade he was in. The kids raised by same sex couples (and the census showed they were same sex couples) did just fine. And the brand new Potter research just out within this month, “Same-Sex Parent Families and Children’s Academic
        Achievement” those kids raised by same sex couples did fine also. Potter used the national XX and studied kids in grades K-8.
        “Early Childhood
        Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten cohort
        (ECLS –K). Sponsored by the National Center
        for Educational Statistics, the ECLS –K is a
        seven-wave panel study that collected data from
        more than 20,000 children during kindergarten
        in the fall of 1998 and followed them through
        their eighth-grade year”

        Regnerous tried to study adults who had been raised by same sex couples and he didn’t find them. So yes large random samples exist, but on children. And the kids raised by same sex couples are doing fine.

        • George Yancey

          There you go. Let Rosenfelt finish the work and then you can answer Regnerous without a univeristy investigation or attacking his motives. If he comes out with more convincing data then it will be more convincing if there is not a stigma attached to not toeing the party line.

  • JeffreyRO5

    Well, this topic is probably dying out, at least until some new revelation about the Regnerus study surfaces. Professor Regnerus must be loving all this free publicity! You can’t buy all this attention for your sociology work, usually! He’ll be on the talk show circuit soon enough, I imagine, and be pulling in the dough for more research. Lucky stiff!

    • George Yancey

      LOL I seriously doubt that this little blog is worth much in publicity. I wish I was that big. But I am just a little fish in a big pond.

  • George Yancey

    Okay I am done. I will be away from internet access the next few days and so will not approve any more comments. Do not want you to waste time putting comments together since I cannot partipate in the dialogue now. Enjoyed the debate. Peace.

  • George Yancey
  • Guest

    You have liberal friends? What on earth for?


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X