Cameron takes his show across the pond

Paul Cameron went to Britain last month to tell about his new research studies of newspaper clippings. The title for this talk was a cheery one: “Homosexuals Account for 29 Percent of Rape and Murder of Kids.” All of that based on reading the paper. Recently, I addressed the problems with his methodology regarding another similar “study” he posted on his new online “journal” (read: website).

Anyway, Peter Ould has an interesting post about the group he spoke to — the Christian Council of Britain. He takes a romp through a history of ideas regarding race and apartheid that are worth considering.

Hey, I read it in the papers – Paul Cameron extends his methods

Reading obituaries probably gets boring and maybe a little morbid, so it is understandable that the Paul Cameron research machine has branched out and included tragic news articles as data collection.

In his spanking new venture, the Empirical Journal of Same Sex Sexual Behavior, Cameron has released a “study” called, Teacher-Pupil Sex Across the World: How Much Is Homosexual? Apparently, the only article in the journal so far, the article’s abstract says:

In news stories in English across the world for 1980-2006, 902 teachers engaged in sex with 3,457 pupils. Teachers engaging in same-sex sex constituted 63% of perpetrators in Ireland, 62% in New Zealand, 60% in Canada, 54% in Scotland, 48% in Australia, 47% in England, and 35% in the U.S.; in smaller samples, homosexuals accounted for 71% of perpetrators in mainland Europe, 26% in Africa, and 13% in Asia. Proportionately more same-sex sexual activity with pupils occurred in the West as compared to Asia and Africa. Most (54% of 810 male, 83% of 92 female) teachers violated only opposite sex pupils; 43% of perpetrators engaged in homosexuality; and 55% of victims were boys. Findings for each country or set of countries were consistent with U.S. studies based on superintendent report, principal report, self-report, and convictions indicating that a male homosexual is the most and a female heterosexual the least apt to have sex with pupils.

Cameron begins the article noting the prevalence of sexual molestations in educational settings and then basically documents the fatal flaw in his paper:

Even though teacher/pupil sexual events are fairly common, an instance of teacher/pupil has to run a veritable gauntlet before it becomes public knowledge. Educational systems try vigorously to assure that teacher molestations are not brought to light. So such an event is likely to be suppressed. (p. 2)

Anyone familiar with schools and teacher behavior knows that these events are frequently covered up with many never getting to trial and thus are not captured by newspapers. Who knows how many actual events occur? Who knows how many of the same-sex perpetrators are married with kids? Not to mention that same sex perpetrations might actually be more likely to be reported and made public. And yet, Cameron considers news reports a source of data adequate enough to include in his inaugural issue. So since he demolished any credibility the study could have, there is no point in going any further, right? Of course, he does, and we get statistics that may end up in a news release somewhere.

Rather than me taking time to predict the next study that will emerge from the headlines, let me turn it over to my readers. What else might we learn from newspapers, folks?

Cameron’s news release on this study is here.

Paul Cameron questions VP Cheney at Salt Lake gathering

Here is my question: Is this news release referring to the same gathering that is reported on here? This Tribune article says about the gathering: “But for all the mystery, it was pretty mundane, according to those who were inside…” If indeed, this is the same gathering (same place, same time), then Paul Cameron didn’t think things were so mundane. See below.

Dems Endorse Gay Marriage Pitch to Second Graders; Cheney Ducks Question

Contact: Dr. Paul Cameron, Family Research Institute, 303-681-3113

SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 1 /Christian Newswire/ — Speaking to a group of conservative leaders gathered at the Grand America Hotel, Vice President Dick Cheney pointedly ducked a question Democratic presidential candidates had recently answered during their debate at Dartmouth College.

On Wednesday night, Allison King of New England Cable News had asked the Democratic contenders: “Last year, some parents of second-graders in Lexington, Massachusetts, were outraged to learn their children’s teacher had read a story about same-sex marriage, about a prince who marries another prince…. Would you be comfortable having this story read to your children as part of their school curriculum?”

Former Senator John Edwards said, “Yes, absolutely.” Senator Barack Obama had answered: “I feel very similar to John.” And frontrunner Senator Hillary Clinton had agreed: “I really respect what both John and Barack Said.”

Two days later, when researcher Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute asked Vice President Cheney essentially the same question at Salt Lake City, substituting “American children” for “your children,” Cheney refused to answer “yes” or “no,” saying it was a question for the states to decide.

“I gave him the opportunity to distance himself and the Republican Party from the Democratic position,” Cameron said, “and he wouldn’t do it. A lot of people will find this apparent lack of conviction highly disturbing.”

Both the Romney (“This is a subject that should be left to parents, not public school teachers”) and Thompson campaigns (“Fred wants to let kids be kids while the Democrats are trying to turn them into mini Moveon.org activists”) condemned schools telling 7 year-olds that homosexual activity is OK.

The Family Research Institute, a think-tank in Colorado Springs, does research on demographic and sexual trends.

SF Chronicle incorrectly links Focus and Cameron

In a curious reference to Paul Cameron, Ilene Lelchuk reported on gay adoptions in San Francisco yesterday.

What is odd is her reference to Paul Cameron being the foundation for Focus on the Family’s policy on gay adoptions when she writes:

Focus on the Family’s objection to same-sex parents is grounded in interpretation of biblical scripture and research by Paul Cameron, director of the Family Research Institute in Colorado. Cameron says gays and lesbians are unfit parents, are more likely to molest children of their same sex, switch partners frequently, have shorter life expectancies and cause their children embarrassment and social difficulties.

Problem is Focus on the Family doesn’t use Cameron’s research. In addition, it seems strange to insert Cameron in the article at that juncture. It gives the appearance that Cameron was being interviewed in some way on behalf of Focus.

UPDATE: 5/22/07 – The SF Chronicle added this clarification:

CLARIFICATION: In an article about San Francisco’s campaign to get more gays and lesbians to adopt foster children – as well as an opposing evangelical campaign to get more Christian families to adopt — the Chronicle quoted Paul Cameron, director of the Family Research Institute. The article should have noted that Cameron, who believes gays make unfit parents and self-published dozens of articles he said were based on his research, was expelled from the American Psychological Association in 1983 when he refused to subject his work to peer review. The article also should have reported that his Family Research Institute was named a hate group in 2006 by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Still no clarification that Focus on the Family does not rely on his work.

Also for accurate information about the Focus adoption initiative, see their Voice of the Orphan website.

Paul Cameron: No super rights

Apparently believing the adage that bad publicity is better than no publicity, Paul Cameron excerpts his recent letter to me for a press release this morning. Titled, “Why Should Homosexuals Have Super Rights?”, Cameron begins the release by again reprising Rudolph Hoss: “Is it fair, is it just to give those who live parasitic lives ‘Super Rights?’ ”

Wow.

Only the gay die young? Part 9 – The Camerons disturbing views

I thought I was done talking about the Camerons. I was wrong. Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin has a post of interest both at his blog and at Exgaywatch about an article in the Family Research Institute’s (the Camerons’ non-profit) newsletter from 1999. Although old, it is a very disturbing article and due to Paul Cameron’s recent letter to me, relevant to the recent series of posts on the Camerons research.

The Cameron article from the March 1999 issue of his newsletter is titled “Gays in Nazi Germany” and leads off with this question:

How did the Nazis deal with homosexuals? This question is partially answered by Rudolf Hoss — who was in charge of some of these decisions — in a recently translated German book…so the real issue for Hoss and his Nazi collaborators was how to “control” those addicted to homosexuality. Since the Nazi regime could get away with just about anything it wanted shy of execution to suppress homosexual activity, its experience provides some insight about the “containability” of homosexuality, at least under a dictatorship.

For those who do not know who Rudulph Hoss was, you can see this Wikipedia entry. You will need a strong stomach to read even the brief excerpt of his approach to killing millions as the Commandant at Auschwitz. As incredible as it may seem, Cameron actually appears to be deriving lessons about the causes and “cures” of homosexuality from the memoirs of Rudolph Hoss. In fact, he says:

These experiences put the lie to the whole “born that way” claim or the notion that one’s sexuality is fixed after puberty. Clearly, homosexuals could and did “convert” at least some of those with whom they were housed and at a sufficient level for Hoss to consider it an “epidemic.”

I suppose I could be “cured” of a lot of things if I thought “my problem” would get me tortured or killed. Cameron quoted Hoss about the Nazi vision of “rehabilitation.”

On the subject of “curing” homosexuals, Hoss relates that some “were put to work in the clay pit of the… brick factory, separated from the other prisoners. This was hard work and everyone had to produce a certain quota… regardless of the weather… [this had] visible results with… the male prostitutes who wanted to earn their living in an easy way and absolutely avoid even the lightest work…. The strict camp life and the hard work quickly reeducated this type. Most of them worked very hard and took great care not to get into trouble so that they could be released as soon as possible. They also avoided associating with those afflicted with this depravity and wanted to make it known that they had nothing to do with homosexuals. In this way countless rehabilitated young men could be released without having a relapse…. Some men were homosexual because they became weary of women through overindulgence or because they looked for new highs in their parasitic life. These men could also be reeducated and turned away from their vice. But those who… had become addicted to their vice could not be reeducated…. they were slaves to their vice…. Since they would not or could not give up their vice, they knew that they would never be free again. This most effective mental pressure accelerated the physical decay in these sensitive characters.” (my emphasis)

As I read this article, I kept thinking there has got to be some disclaimer here, some expression of regret for the treatment these poor souls, but I did not find any. Note Hoss’ use of the term “parasitic life” to describe homosexuality. Cameron reprised this term in his response to my criticisms of his recent report when he said:

A larger question goes begging in this discussion. Our methods and credentials are being impugned primarily because we have come to believe — on the basis of empirical research — that homosexual practice is injurious to society. Further, that we as a culture will pay a stiff penalty for elevating homosexual expression to the status of a powerful ‘right.’ So I ask the following question: Is it fair to give those who live parasitic lives ‘Super Rights?’(my emphasis)

When I first read “parasitic lives,” I thought what an oddly disparaging term to describe ideological opponents. Is his recent use of the term a coincidence, or did he learn something from Commandant Hoss? The article concludes with this warning.

We can certainly feel sorry for those who are so trapped by their vice that they cannot get free. On the other hand, if society were forced to accommodate the behavior of hardcore homosexuals, how many other lives would be damaged, perhaps irreparably? True compassion dictates that we not only attempt to keep those who are bent on self-destruction from reaching their demise, but more importantly, that we protect others who might get caught in the same wake of misfortune.

So what are we to learn, Dr. Cameron? We do not live in a dictatorship but are we to learn that homosexuals are “containable?” Jim Burroway’s post draws out past statements of Cameron that are shockingly in sync with this 1999 article. This article by Ward Harkavy is also good for more background. Suffice to say that Dr. Cameron is not simply ideologically opposed to homosexuality, he is fixated on “solutions” that I find abhorrent. I call on fellow social conservatives who still refer to the Camerons’ work to take a hard look at these posts and reflect on whether someone with such extreme animosity could possibly approach social science data with sufficient objectivity to be trusted.

Only the gay die young? Part 7 – Paul and Kirk Cameron reply

As expected, Drs Cameron have replied to my critique of their study of gay life expectancy. They have made it neat and tidy by separately replying so click each name below to read their letters.

Paul Cameron

Kirk Cameron

Paul Cameron’s letter came with my critique included so I have left this in the document (it is getting long) — Cameron’s thoughts begin on page 7.

Only the gay die young? Part 5 – Morten Frisch responds to Kirk Cameron

Just after I posted my evaluation of Drs. Cameron’s gay life expectancy report, I received the following email from Morten Frisch which is a reply to Kirk Cameron’s letter in rebuttal to Dr. Frisch.

Dear Dr. Throckmorton,

As sadly anticipated, Drs. Paul and Kirk Cameron were not objective when writing their report ’Federal Distortion of Homosexual Footprint (Ignoring Early Gay Death?)’ (1). The mission statement of their professional affiliation, the Family Research Institute, concludes as follows: ”We welcome all who would join in the fight to restore a world…where homosexuality is not taught and accepted, but instead is discouraged and rejected at every level.” As a consequence, any report on human sexuality originating from this institution will by definition be devoid of objectivity and of questionable scientific value.

As a statistical researcher, Dr. Kirk Cameron must know well the inferential problems that prevail when comparing the average age at death in two study groups with vastly different age distributions. Elementary textbooks in epidemiology warn against such undue comparisons because they lead to apparently common-sense, but overtly wrong, conclusions (2). Assume for the purpose of illustration that Cameron and Cameron had restricted their study to all newly-married and all newly-partnered people in Denmark during the study window 1990-2002 (Norway 1997-2002) with the aim to make the studied groups of homosexuals and heterosexuals more comparable. In Danish men, the median age at first homosexual partnership was 4 years higher (32.6 years) than the median age at first heterosexual marriage (28.6 years) in the period 1989-2001 and, in women, the difference was about 6 years, being 32.6 years for first homosexual partnership vs. 26.5 years for first heterosexual marriage (3). Among those relatively few newly-married and newly-partnered people who actually died in the short observation period, the average age at death would likely be higher in the homosexually partnered group than in the heterosexually married group, simply because of the older age distribution of the homosexually partnered group. Using the Camerons’ flawed logic of inference such a modification of their study design would lead to the opposite conclusion; i.e., that heterosexual marriages shorten peoples’ life span. Obviously, this conclusion would be as unsubstantiated as the one reached by the authors.

Working to promote their anti-homosexual agenda, the Camerons presumably have plenty of time and resources to discuss these issues at length. As a researcher continuously fighting hard to obtain the required funding and time for my projects and those of my students I will have to stop here, leave the Camerons with their tragic parody of science, and focus on true scientific questions instead. I have previously published studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals that were warmly applauded by gay advocacy groups (4) as well as studies that made me a persona non grata in the same circles (3). I don’t have an agenda or a political mission for my scientific work, but I certainly have a different starting point than the one expressed in the mission statement of the Family Research Institute. Unlike what Dr. Kirk Cameron believes, I don’t object to the theoretical possibility that homosexual persons may have somewhat shorter life spans than heterosexuals or, for that matter, the other way around. We just don’t have meaningful prospective data available to inform us yet.

Although the Camerons’ report has no objective scientific value, the authors should be acknowledged for providing teachers with a humorous example of agenda-driven, pseudo-scientific gobbledygook that will make lessons in elementary study design and scientific inference much more amusing for future epidemiology students.

Morten Frisch, MD, PhD, DSc(Med)

Senior epidemiologist

Copenhagen, Denmark

References

1. Cameron, P. and Cameron, K. Federal Distortion Of Homosexual Footprint (Ignoring Early Gay Death?). 1-27. 2007. Family Research Institute.

2. Rothman KJ. Introduction to Epidemiologic Thinking. In: Rothman KJ (ed), Epidemiology – An Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 1-7

3. Frisch M, Hviid A. Childhood family correlates of heterosexual and homosexual marriages: a national cohort study of two million Danes. Arch Sex Behav 2006;35:533-47

4. Frisch M, Smith E, Grulich A, Johansen C. Cancer in a population-based cohort of men and women in registered homosexual partnerships. Am J Epidemiol 2003;157:966-72

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