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Ethics Complaint Filed In Anti-Gay Regnerus Scandal

by Scott Rose on August 31, 2012

in Analysis,Bigotry Watch,News,Scott Rose

Mark Regnerus is an anti-gay-rights figure at the University of Texas at Austin.

The NOM-linked anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute gave Regnerus $785,000 to execute a study ostensibly, but not actually, on gay parents’ child outcomes.

The legitimate scientific community is united in concerns about the Regnerus study’s lack of intellectual integrity, and the fact that prior to publication, the study did not receive ethical and appropriate professional peer review.

Brad Wilcox is a Witherspoon Institute official. He also serves on the editorial board of the journal that published the Regnerus study, Social Science Research.

Wilcox had proven fiduciary conflicts of interest in serving as a paid Regnerus study consultant and also, apparently, as a peer reviewer of the Regnerus paper.

There follows a COMPLAINT against Brad Wilcox, filed with the American Sociological Association:

Dear Dr. Hillsman:

In this COMPLAINT, I shall make allegations against ASA member Dr. Brad Wilcox (aka W. Bradford Wilcox); Wilcox has egregiously violated the ASA’s Code of Ethics.

Wilcox is associated with:

1) The University of Virginia  (Director, The National Marriage Project; Associate Professor, Sociology)

2) The Witherspoon Institute   (Director, Program on Family, Marriage and Democracy; Editorial Board Member, Witherspoon’s “Public Discourse”)

3  Elsevier journal Social Science Research (Editorial Board Member)

These allegations relate to Wilcox’s unethical behavior involving a study by ASA member Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin; “The New Family Structures Study.”

Salient, documented facts of the matter include:

1) Wilcox’s Witherspoon Institute is the chief funder of the Regnerus study;

2) Wilcox, an editorial board member of Social Science Research, which published the Regnerus study, served as both a paid Regnerus study consultant and a peer reviewer of the Regnerus study;

3) After the sociological and scientific communities united in expressing concerns about the intellectual integrity of the Regnerus study, and about the suspicious process by which it was approved for publication, Wilcox signed a letter in support of the Regnerus study, which letter was promulgated by Baylor University, and which letter contains many deliberate distortions of the scientific record

WILCOX’S SPECIFIC VIOLATIONS OF THE ASA’S CODE OF ETHICS:

1)

Number 1 of the ASA’s Code of Ethics, “Professional and Scientific Standards” says that sociologists: “rely on scientifically and professionally derived knowledge; act with honesty and integrity; and avoid untrue, deceptive, or undocumented statements in undertaking work-related functions or activities.”

Where Wilcox as I) a highly-placed official with Witherspoon, which funded the Regnerus study; II) acted as both a paid study consultant and peer reviewer of the Regnerus study for the journal Social Science Research, where he is an editorial board member, Wilcox failed to act “with honesty and integrity.” In acting as both a Regnerus study consultant and peer reviewer, Wilcox had multiple fiduciary conflicts of interest. As a paid study consultant, he had a conflict of interest in being a peer reviewer, because paid study consultants want studies for which they have consulted to be published so that their services as paid consultants will be in high demand. Moreover, the Witherspoon Institute as the chief funder of the Regnerus study is promoting it very aggressively, in anti-gay-rights political contexts, at least in part to be able to stimulate additional donations to Witherspoon; Wilcox as a paid Witherspoon official therefore had that additional fiduciary conflict of interest in acting as both a Regnerus study consultant and peer reviewer.

2) Number 1 of the ASA’s Code of Ethics, “Professional and Scientific Standards” says that sociologists: “rely on scientifically and professionally derived knowledge; act with honesty and integrity; and avoid untrue, deceptive, or undocumented statements in undertaking work-related functions or activities.”

In signing the Baylor University letter in support of the Regnerus study, Wilcox did not avoid deceptive statements, or act with honesty and integrity.

The Baylor University Institute for Studies of Religion letter in support of the Regnerus study was promulgated to counter the legitimate scientific community’s expressions of concern about the intellectual integrity of the Regnerus study, which Wilcox’s anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute had funded. The Baylor letter incorporates multiple deliberate distortions of the scientific record, in a propagandizing and fraudulent attempt, scientifically to legitimate the Regnerus study to the public; an example of such a distortion will be given below.

The lead signer of the Baylor letter, Baylor ISR Director Byron Johnson, like Wilcox is an official with the Witherspoon Institute, which funded the Regnerus study. Two additional Witherspoon officials signed the Baylor letter; none of them disclosed their direct connection to the funding of the Regnerus study. Wilcox had a fiduciary conflict of interest in signing the Baylor letter and therefore should at least have disclosed that conflict of interest. The Witherspoon Institute is heavily engaged in promoting the Regnerus study and through promotions of its activities hopes to solicit and receive monetary donations to the Witherspoon Institute.

Here is but one example of the distortions of the scientific record contained in the Baylor letter. In its sixth paragraph, the Baylor letter alleges that the Regnerus study’s findings parallel findings of Daniel Potter’s paper “Same-Sex Parent Families and Children’s Academic Achievement,” which was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

The aim of the Baylor letter signers in alleging that the Potter study’s findings “parallel” those of the Regnerus study was this; Regnerus alleges to have proven correlation between same-sex parents and bad child outcomes; not only does the scientific community question whether Regnerus proved such correlations; it questions whether he actually studied children of “same-sex parents.” The majority of Regnerus’s test group respondents were born to and substantially raised by married couples of opposite genders; their parents therefore are their mothers and fathers; they do not have “same-sex parents,” though that term is written into the Regnerus study. The Baylor letter signers hoped to make the public believe that like Regnerus, Potter is alleging that he proved correlation between same-sex parents and bad child outcomes.

However, Potter in reality says that the differences his study found between children of same-sex parents and children of heterosexual parents are “nonsignificant net of family transitions.” The Baylor letter quotes from the very same sentence in which Potter says that the differences he found are “nonsignificant net of family transitions” but truncates the sentence, not including the phrase “nonsignificant net of family transitions,” and then the Baylor letter tacks on language clearly intended to get the public to believe that the differences Potter found were not “nonsignificant” but rather, significant.

The Baylor letter misrepresents the scientific record that is the Potter study in other ways. For example, the Baylor letter alleges that the children Potter studied had same-sex parents who “lived together.” In documented reality, however, Potter’s data came from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten cohort(ECLS – K). That data does not allow a researcher scientifically to determine whether parents of the children studied are “same-sex parents” living together.  Potter speculated that some of his study subjects’ parents might have been same-sex parents living together, on the basis of unsound methods. What is more is that even supposing that some of Potter’s study subjects’ parents were actually “same-sex parents,” the Baylor letter is demonizing of actual same-sex parents by implying that same-sex parents who live together have scientifically been proven to correlate to bad child outcomes, though Potter says that differences found are “nonsignificant net of family transitions.”  If same-sex parents truly are living together, then there are no family transitions, are there?  The Potter study did not purport to compare stable gay-headed families with stable heterosexual-headed families. But the Baylor letter made a point of telling the public that Potter’s same-sex parents lived together and correlated to bad child outcomes.

The Baylor letter verifiably does distort the scientific record in an attempt to mislead the public about the Regnerus study. On multiple counts, Wilcox violated the ASA’s Code of Ethics by signing the Baylor letter. It must be mentioned in passing that Baylor University views homosexuality in a non-scientific manner. It thus is not appropriate for a sociologist to sign his name to a letter distorting the scientific record on studies involving homosexual persons. For reference, in a New York Times article about gay students at Christian colleges, a Baylor spokesperson said “Baylor expects students not to participate in advocacy groups promoting an understanding of sexuality that is contrary to biblical teaching.” And, in November, 2011, Baylor University was criticized for hosting a special sociology course of study titled Homosexuality as a Gateway Drug.

While individual schools, and individuals, might have first amendment rights to demonize homosexuals, doing so is inconsistent with many points of the ASA’s Code of Ethics, as promulgating demonizing lies against homosexuals as a class of persons is inconsistent with scientific knowledge about homosexuality. In signing his name to a letter containing deliberate distortions of the scientific record, in favor of a study his organization The Witherspoon Institute funded and is promoting in anti-gay-rights political contexts, Wilcox should have considered what the “Baylor University” brand represents vis-a-vis scientific knowledge of homosexuality, and civilized, respectful treatment of homosexual persons.

3)Section 10 of the ASA’s Code of Ethics is titled “Public Communications.” The section is introduced with: “Sociologists adhere to the highest professional standards in public communications about their professional services, credentials and expertise, work products, or publications, whether these communications are from themselves or from others.”

This allegation involves publication of an essay by Robert Oscar Lopez about the Regnerus study on the Witherspoon Institute’s venue “Public Discourse,” where Wilcox is an editorial board member. Since shortly after the publication of the Regnerus study, Lopez had been making comments on multiple internet sites, expressing irrational prejudices against gay persons in support of the Regnerus study. Regnerus saw Lopez’s comments and contacted Lopez first, to commence a correspondence with him about the study and “LGBT issues.” Shortly thereafter, an essay by Lopez appeared on Witherspoon’s “Public Discourse.” The Lopez essay is full of harsh, negative, and sometimes ridiculous judgments and inferences against gay people. For example, Lopez, who alleges he was raised by a lesbian mother, complains that he spoke with a lisp, and that the reason for his lisp was that he did not have any male role models. More seriously, the Lopez essay contains multiple misrepresentations of what the Regnerus study says. All of those misrepresentations are skewed in the direction of inciting readers against gay rights.

Wilcox, with editorial authority over Witherspoon’s “Public Discourse,” violates the ASA’s Code of Ethics, which says that “Sociologists adhere to the highest professional standards in public communications about their . . . . publications, whether these communications are from themselves or from others.”

Furthermore, Section 3 of the ASA’s Code of Ethics, “Representation and Misuse of Expertise,” letter (d), says: “If sociologists learn of misuse or misrepresentation of their work, they take reasonable steps to correct or minimize the misuse or misrepresentation.”

The Lopez essay, with its distortions of what the Regnerus study says, is being publicized to the four corners of the earth, largely by Wilcox’s Witherspoon Institute and/or Witherspoon officials who also have authority at other anti-gay-rights organizations.  Neither Regnerus nor Wilcox have made any effort to correct Lopez’s false statements about what the Regnerus study says. Regnerus appears to have recruited Lopez for the purpose of cultivating him for promotions of the Regnerus study. Documentation should be examined to determine which Witherspoon figures were involved in processing the Lopez essay through to publication. Wilcox should have made an effort to correct to the public the very widely disseminated distortions of Regnerus made in the Lopez essay published on the Witherspoon site. But additionally, Wilcox in association with Witherspoon would have had multiple fiduciary conflicts of interest in promoting the Regnerus study through “Public Discourse,” as Wilcox served as both a paid Regnerus study consultant and a Regnerus study peer reviewer.  If Wilcox personally was directly involved in processing the Lopez essay through to publication, then he was, essentially, promoting his services as a paid study consultant. That the Lopez essay verifiably contains distortions of what the Regnerus study says, makes especially troubling that Wilcox would in any way promote his study consultant services by means of that scientifically inaccurate vehicle.

Upon request, I shall furnish further matches between Wilcox’s behavior and items listed in the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics.

Sincerely,

Scott Rose

 

New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.

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{ 28 comments }

JeffreyRO5 September 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm

If I'd like to get in contact with Scott Rose, how would I do that?

bsradar September 2, 2012 at 11:43 am

“There is insufficient evidence to warrant an investigation,” the university announced in a press release on Aug. 30.
In an Aug. 24 memorandum, University of Texas research integrity officer Robert Peterson stated that “Professor Regnerus did not commit scientific misconduct when designing, executing and reporting the research published in the Social Science Research article.”
“In brief, Mr. Rose believed that the Regnerus research was seriously flawed and inferred that there must be scientific misconduct,” Peterson stated. “However, there is no evidence to support that inference.”
As part of the inquiry, Peterson interviewed both the accuser and the accused and sequestered Regnerus’ research and correspondence, which included four laptops, two desktop computers and 42,000 of his emails.
In addition, to ensure that the inquiry was conducted appropriately and fairly, the university hired Alan Price as an outside, independent consultant. Price served for 17 years in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Research Integrity. There, he and a staff of senior scientists saw, handled and resolved more than 3,000 charges of scientific misconduct, leading Price to state that no one in the U.S., or for that matter, in the world, has more experience in this area than he does.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/university-o….

Scott_Rose September 3, 2012 at 11:46 am

UT only recently had to be pressured into looking more deeply into a blatantly dubious matter involving its professor Charles Groat, who had completed a study which concluded that fracking is safe, without having disclosed that he sits on the board of a fracking industry company.

Writing in Scientific American — no less — David Wogan, a former student of Groat at UT, said that the Groat scandal is damaging to the University of Texas at Austin.

The ongoing Regnerus scandal, too, is having a negative impact on UT's public image.

gibsonsg1973 September 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I disagree. I think it is having a positive impact on UT's public image. You stated the study was flawed because Regnerus is Catholic and was funded by Witherspoon and therefore could not be impartial. This logic suggests that your study, because you are gay, cannot be impartial. You can't have it both ways. You are damaging your public image and your movements' image by being a hypocrite. One more thing. The Office of Research Integrity which is an office in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, cleared the study. That really does not mean much, since it is academias' big brother academic, however acdedemia was responsible for creating the gov't agency and now you want to cry about it??? Again, you agree with things only when they are convenient for you. This is hypocritical. You are hurting your movement. I have a gay adult child and that child constantly complains how hypocritical academics are killing the gay rights movement. If you want respect, earn it. Let everyone decide not just the agency of the day that fits your agenda. Your pathetic and killing the gay rights movement. Get out of the way.

Scott_Rose September 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm

You are cherry picking my complaint and misrepresenting what I have actually said. The starting point is that Regnerus's whole study, methodology and analysis are not valid as science. A mass of scientists agree with me, including the entire American Medical Association and the President of the American Sociological Association. There is agreement in the academy that the Regnerus study does not support the conclusions it offers. I did not say that the study is flawed because Regnerus is Catholic. In fact, I challenge you to find anyplace where I ever said that the study is "flawed," because I don't think it is flawed; I think it is scientifically invalid. And with Witherspoon, the point is not that they are Catholic, but rather that they have long, documented and shameful histories of distorting the scientific record to demonize gay people. Don't make shit up that I never said, and then argue against me as though I had said that shit. The first issue here is that the study is scientifically nvalid. It is safe for me to say that the methodology used in Dr. Regnerus’ study is highly unusual and unlikely to pass critical commentary in” . . . “peer-reviewed journals. The study was not an experiment in any sense of the word, although the data analysis proceeded as if it were. This was a random sample survey; researchers working on a random sample survey study refrain from using the language of experimental design in analyzing and discussing their results. Because the trait in question, having a parent who at some point had a same-sex relationship, is confounded with a host of other variables in the Regnerus study, the appropriate methodology would have been a multivariate linear regression model that “controlled” for the sources of difference between those respondents with “gay” parents and those without, such as race, parental education and income, parental divorce, religious participation, etc. Why Regnerus did not conduct and report such an analysis is beyond me (he actually says he DID conduct such an analysis in his article but then decided not to present it to the reader). Even a controlled, multivariate analysis would be inadequate here, however, since there are a host of UNMEASURED variables that might be different across individuals but could not be controlled in the analysis (such as health of the parents, parental time with the children in adolescence, etc.). Regnerus analyzed his data as though it were a multi-group experiment, thoroughly documented differences between his married biological parent group and his “gay” parent group, and then issued a disclaimer that he really didn’t know what was producing the differences since this was not an experimental study. Well, duh. A reputable social scientist would not have stopped there. The strange thing is that the journal Social Science Research has always had the reputation of being an extremely methodologically sophisticated journal. How this happened in that journal seems incredible to me.

gibsonsg1973 September 5, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Rosey- I did not use foul language, so, you have opened that door. I was commenting on how, as ascribed by your reply to another, that your study cannot be impartial, because of your sexual preference. As far as your academic bullshit is concerned, write to someone that gives a shit. You fuckheads spend my money on your bullshit research and the in the end your still just a six figure nobody, if that. When you finally wake the fuck up, maybe someone, wealthy enough to help,who was once concerned with your cause, would help you. Like I previously stated, get out of the way. Attack Catholics again and see what happens to your support from the AMA and ASA. If anyone is shameless in history and demonizing of gays, I suggest you look in the mirror, first. You are killing my daughters cause.Do not reply. It will be deleted. I will rather, watch your decisions from my academically supportive perch. Get with it young man. Tone down a notch or two. May benefit your cause. I do not like execrations. It makes me feel like I am speaking to an idiot. Judging from your text, you may not be. <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV style=”RIGHT: auto” dir=ltr> <DIV style=”BORDER-BOTTOM: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; LINE-HEIGHT: 0; MARGIN: 5px 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; HEIGHT: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 0px; BORDER-TOP: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-TOP: 0px”></DIV>

nlcatter September 3, 2012 at 9:01 am

a population of 248 was used to make the report?

Ridiculous!

ANDS_ September 4, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Sample, not population. You'd need a lot more than several hundred thousand dollars to do that. And, 248 out of 3000 identified as having been raised by a homosexual couple. For this type of study, that is likely more than enough. Of course if you have some sampling theory you'd like to lay down on us, we're all ears.

Scott_Rose September 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm

At the University of Virginia, Dr. Steven Nock (1950 – 2008) was a Commonwealth Professor, Professor of Sociology, and Director of the Marriage Matters Project. During his career, he was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and he served as an American Family Policy consultant to the Federal Department of Health and Human Services. In 1999, Dr. Nock won the William J. Good Book Award from the American Sociological Association for his book Marriage in Men’s Lives; the volume was acknowledged as “the most outstanding contribution to family scholarship” for that year.

Dr. Nock submitted an affidavit in Halpern v. Canada, a case heard in 2003 in the Ontario Superior Court. Plaintiffs led by Halpern were seeking marriage equality for homosexual couples through the court, in opposition to the Attorney General of Canada, against whom the case had been brought. The Attorney General asked Dr. Nock to provide his assessment of the existing scientific literature on gay parenting.

Nock was expert in sociological survey research, and thus his prescriptions for acceptable scientific practices in large, random sociological surveys are relevant to Mark Regnerus’s survey research, as Regnerus alleges to have carried out and worked with a large, random, national sampling of young adult children of “Lesbian mothers” and “Gay fathers.” The first part of Nock’s affidavit defines a true gold standard for conducting sociological survey research in the field of gay parenting. Some — liberals particularly — may disagree with certain of Nock’s personal opinions about family life and associated matters, yet his gold standard guidelines for the field of his greatest expertise, sociological survey research through large random samples, command broad-based respect. He developed these random survey sampling methodology guidelines disinterestedly, wanting to define standards for his profession. Sociologists who are gay parenting experts often refer to Nock as their research standard.

For example, Stanford University Sociologist Michael J. Rosenfeld, in his 2009 study “Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress Through School,” noted that 1) his study, based on the U.S. Census for the year 2000, included 3,502 (three-thousand five-hundred and two) children of same-sex couples who had been living with both parents for at least five (5) years, and that that 2) “more than satisfies Nock’s criteria of 800 as the minimum number of gay and lesbian couples required for statistically useful study.”

Scott_Rose September 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Nock explained the necessity — to valid social science research — of working with a valid operational definition: “In social science literature, the process of translating a concept into one or more empirical indicators is known as developing an operational definition of a concept.” Nock continues: “In social science research, the concepts used, frequently come to have conventional operational definitions. Researchers using accepted operational definitions are able to replicate others’ research, and build upon it. In this fashion, social science advances, as any science might.”

Writing about the specific requirements for sociological surveys in the field of gay parenting, Nock says: “With regard to the question at hand” – (which question at hand happened to be gay parenting child outcomes, Regnerus’s alleged study topic) — “we would need operational definitions of “gay”, “lesbian”, “bisexual, “parent”, “child”, “child’s health”, and “child’s well being.’” Regnerus apparently did not work with operational definitions for any of those things.

Nock states that without a valid operational definition of a gay or lesbian parent, researchers cannot know what is being studied. He notes, moreover, that “The precise definition of all concepts to be used is crucial to the capability to replicate studies.” And he says: “Scientific evidence accumulates and gains credibility only through replication.”

Regnerus, with no operational definition of the terms “lesbian mother” or “gay father,” asked one — (1) – question, only, of his study’s respondents towards his effort in labeling certain of his study subjects’ parents as “lesbian mothers” and/or “gay fathers.” Here is that question:

“From when you were born until age 18 (or until you left home to be on your own), did either of your parents ever have a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex?”

Scott_Rose September 5, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Regnerus’s study design seemingly fits none of the salient criteria that Nock describes as mandatory for a valid sociological survey study in the field of gay parenting.

As Stanford University’s Michael J. Rosenfeld noted in his gay parenting study’s citation of Nock, the minimum number of gay parents needed for a sociological survey to be adequate for statistical purposes is 800. Regnerus — beyond not having a valid operational definition for “lesbian mother” or “gay father” — only included in his study 175 women labeled, dubiously, as “lesbian mothers” and only 73 men labeled, dubiously, as “gay fathers” for a total of 248 parents. Even had Regnerus used a valid operational definition for “gay parent,” he would still be 552 gay parents short of Nock’s minimum of 800 gay parents needed for a sociological survey study on gay parenting to be statistically valid.

Nock says that a researcher could expect to survey the minimum requirement of 800 gay parents by screening at least 40,000 adults randomly. Regnerus only screened 15,058. By Nock’s guidelines, Regnerus needed to screen at least 24,942 additional people to have an adequate sampling of gay parents.

Here is what Nock says about screening 40,000 people: “This is not a particularly large screening task.” (Bolding added). And he continues: “For example, the Current Population Survey (U.S. Bureau of the Census) interviews (not simply screens) approximately 50,000 individuals every month.”

Nock discusses the difficulties in surveying homosexual parents in comparison to the difficulties of surveying comparably small minorities. “Homosexuals are probably no more difficult to locate and interview than homeless individuals, those who have been the victim of crimes in the past year (without reporting the incident to the police), or those who have had abortions. All have been the subject of scientific investigation. The crucial point is, however, that without a sample of the type just described,” – meaning, a random sample with a minimum of 800 gay parents – “it is impossible to make scientifically valid claims about the population of homosexuals and their children.” (Bolding and underlining added). That quote makes clear that Nock, according to the standards he defined in his affidavit, would deem Regnerus’s study invalid.

Regnerus and his funders appear to be exploiting the general public’s ignorance of the field of sociology. While Regnerus and his funders tell the public that they could not possibly have funded or carried out a screening of 40,000 people, and extravagantly applaud Regnerus for having screened 15,058 people, Nock says that screening 40,000 people “is not a particularly large screening task.”

Scott_Rose September 5, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Regnerus’s Possible Bad-Faith, Invalid Comparison Between His Test and Control Groups

Regnerus’s study’s comparison of 1) young adult children raised by continuously married heterosexual parents with; 2) young adult children raised by parents in a welter of varying family structures — predominated by that of divorced biological heterosexual parents – is wholly invalid as a study of young adult children of “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers.”

In Section “f” of his affidavit, titled “Assembling the Appropriate Comparison Group,” Nock says: “if we are attempting to answer the question ‘Are the children of gay and lesbian parents as healthy and well-adjusted as those of their heterosexual counterparts?’ we must be able to rule out any third factors that could conceivably mask or cloud the issue.” Nock continues by saying that in order to try to determine what effect, if any, there is of having homosexual parents as opposed to heterosexual parents, then “To do this in a sound methodological manner, they” — the researchers – “must somehow be able to compare children who differ in their circumstances on only this one dimension,” meaning, that of their sexual orientation. It would, for example, not be valid to compare the children of highly affluent, professionally accomplished and loving same-sex couples to the children of impoverished heterosexual substance dependent fathers and then to conclude that in comparison to children of same-sex couples, heterosexual fathers have bad child outcomes.

It frankly is beyond belief that a UT sociologist is – seemingly disingenuously – presenting a study with an invalid test-group/control-group comparison, as though it were valid. Many sixth grade science classes teach the importance of a valid comparison.

Regnerus boasts that his study is based on a “large, random, national” sample, yet he seeks to justify his invalid comparison by alleging that it was too difficult to recruit enough children raised by gay and/or lesbian couples for his “large, national, random” sampling. Regnerus failure to survey adequate numbers of children of same-sex couples is a direct result of his not having screened enough members of the general population to do so.

Regnerus does not explain why; 1) as his young adult children of (inappropriately labeled) “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers” were from broken heterosexual homes, he did not 2) compare that test group to a control group also of young adult children from broken homes, who appear to be adequately present among his respondents, to judge by the numbers in Regnerus’s study Code Book. Regnerus had data to make some appropriate test-group/control-group comparison, but did not make one.

The question arises: “Would Regnerus have us believe that it is too difficult to find and to survey young adult children from broken homes whose parents are both exclusively heterosexual?” Regnerus attempts 1) to explain away his invalid comparison between his test group and his control group – (as though it did not matter that he had made an invalid comparison) – but 2) he never explains why he did not use his data to make some – (any, please!) — appropriate comparison.

That fact about Regnerus and his public promotions of his study would not appear to be reflective of a good faith effort in analyzing his data and promoting his study to the public.

Scott_Rose September 5, 2012 at 8:03 pm

To put it another way, the Inquiry Panel members should be asking themselves: “Would a sociologist acting in good faith attempt to explain away his invalid comparison between his test group and his control group, instead of having used his data to make a valid comparison in the first place?”

Nock says: “To make a convincing case about the consequences of having homosexual parents, a researcher would need to compare children living with homosexual and heterosexual parents but who did not differ on any other important dimension. A failure to compare children identical (or almost identical) on all important other dimensions except the sexual orientation of their parents would be sufficient to invalidate the study.” (Bolding added).

Regnerus failed to do something in his study, and that is, he failed to make an appropriate comparison between his test group and his control group, and sociologist Steven Nock, Ph.D. says that alone is “sufficient to invalidate the study.” Regnerus seemingly cherry-picked his control group in relation to his test group, according to a perhaps suspicious system not necessarily of either purely sociological origins or exquisite sociological rigor, to which system his anti-gay-rights political funders would perhaps have nodded approval — (after all, they are known to be scientifically disreputable) — if given a chance to do that nodding of approval of this particular invalid test-group/control-group comparison that just oh so coincidentally makes gay parents look bad. Who could ever have imagined that a gay parenting study with $785,000 of NOM-linked funding would be the one study out of all studies to make gay parents look exceptionally bad?

Even had Regnerus conscientiously developed operational definitions for “lesbian mother” and “gay father” and appropriately surveyed young adult children of such people, his comparison between respondents from stable couples with broken couples would still be utterly useless and invalid for determining what effect, if any, a homosexual parent’s sexual orientation, per se, has on child outcomes. In explaining why he made the invalid comparison, Regnerus uses an alibi to the effect that there simply are not enough stable gay and/or lesbian couples to be surveyed for a study.

ANDS_ September 5, 2012 at 8:21 pm

"Who could ever have imagined that a gay parenting study with $785,000 of NOM-linked funding would be the one study out of all studies to make gay parents look exceptionally bad? "

This is really your problem. You – and the rest of the blogosphere are the only ones who have taken this away from the actual study. Many people – who've actually read the damn thing – recognize that the entire paper is littered with caveats from Regnerus, as well as cautions to not extrapolate his findings beyond what is actually presented in the paper. Nowhere does he make the claim that homosexuality in and of itself causes bad parenting.

What is sad is that you perhaps had an opportunity to present a fair critique of a supposed unfair paper, but instead you've just delved into histrionics and character attacks. Anyone not with a preset position would have viewed this paper and saw that broken and dysfunctional homes are still a major problem in the United States (I'd say "duh. . ." to that to be honest) – instead you've taken one observation from the data and spun it at the entire point of the research.

Sad.

Scott_Rose September 5, 2012 at 8:35 pm

If anything is "sad" here, it is your persistence in not acknowledging the improper relationships that exist between Regnerus and his funders. The nuance he wrote into his written study vanishes, when he is promoting the study in league with his funders. If you think he isn't doing that, you haven't followed the story in enough detail. The Regnerus study is a specific project of Witherspoon's program on Marriage, Family and Democracy, the director of which is W. Bradford Wilcox, a long-time friend and professional associate of Regnerus. Wilcox is on the editorial board of the journal that published Regnerus, Social Science Research, where the Regnerus studied was simultaneously published with a studied propagandistically twinned to it by Loren Marks. Wilcox is a paid Regnerus study consultant, and he was a peer reviewer of either the Regnerus or the Marks submissions. Witherspoon set up a stand-alone site to promote the Regnerus and Marks studies together. Wilcox's pile-up of conflicts of interest in the publication of the Regnerus study would not occur at any science journal of integrity. I repeat; Witherspoon's Wilcox is on the editorial board of Social Science Research, the journal that published Regnerus and Marks. Where there is valid scientific debate about something, the correct approach is to conduct a scientific debate. Where there is a hoax, as there is here, the hoax has to be exposed.

Scott_Rose September 5, 2012 at 8:44 pm

In the 1960s and 70s, when the tobacco industry was sponsoring studies showing that smoking was not bad for you, the bought-and-paid-for studies were hoaxes. The aim of the hoax was to keep "on the table" as it were, the notion that it could possibly be true that smoking was not bad for you. In these hoax cases, what has to happen is for the hoax to be exposed. Debating the "science" where there is no valid scientific debate, rewards the perpetrators. That is what you are doing with your attacks against me, and with your attitude. You are rewarding the perpetrators, and you don't give a damn about exposing the "obvious" hoax. Did you even read the post above? Would you have other readers believe that it is normal and ethical science journal publishing practice for a long time friend and associate of a researcher to fund the researcher's project, be on the editorial board of the journal that publishes his study, serve as a paid study consultant on that study and also be one of the peer reviewers? That is what is reported in the above post. It does absolutely violate all ethics of science publishing. The study had no valid peer review, and the peer review was corrupted by somebody who is a highly-placed official in Regnerus's chief funding organization. This is all documented, beyond any question.

Scott_Rose September 5, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Given that the peer review process for the Regnerus study — as per the admission of Social Science Research editorial board member Darren Sherkat – failed – and we repeat, the peer review process for the Regnerus study is said to have failed — the only way that Regnerus’s findings could be replicated would be for a repeat study on the same topic again to be published through a failed peer review process.

As Nock says: “Scientific evidence accumulates and gains credibility only through replication.”

It is seemingly true that the only way that Regnerus’s study of young adult children of “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers” could be replicated would be for a researcher to; 1) not employ an operational definition for any of the most important terms for things and phenomena the study alleges to be studying; and to 2) screen and survey a total number of respondents that many experts deem inadequate for the study to have statistical validity; and to 3) use an inappropriate comparison between the test group and the control group, which inappropriate comparison would invalidate the study, and then nonetheless to: 4) submit the final study paper to a journal where the peer review system would fail, with the peer reviewers alleged to be “right wing Christianists” and at least one of the peer reviewers having a confirmed conflict of interest in peer reviewing the study.

AdamEveNOTsteve September 3, 2012 at 9:29 am

I can tell you that if both of my parents were gay I would have most likely wanted to hide in the closet. What to you guys think? That being a fag will be widely accepted? It will never be widely accepted and kudos to UT which is widely known for supporting liberals which in this case it didn't. When on earth will you just learn to live like God created you to be.

Scott_Rose September 3, 2012 at 11:44 am

You are the one who needs to get with the program. The Prime Ministers of Iceland and of Belgium are out gay human beings. So are the Mayors of Berlin, Paris and Houston. Pull your head out of your bigot ass and realize that you are alive in the 21st century.

AdamEveNOTsteve September 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Not that I'm a bible thumper but what year in the 21st century did the biblical sense of marriage change? Gays are pollution of the earth just as pedophiles are, both have something missing upstairs. I can't fathom how a man thinks it right to be with another man and vice versa with women. GAYS WILL NEVER be widely accepted in the world. Go Chik-fil-a and kudos to the arizona company who fired that IDIOT CFO for videoing his moronic message to that outstanding drive thru attendant.

Disliking and discriminating against homosexuality does not mean your a bigot, an unlawful person or a bad person. It means your a Christian.

Scott_Rose September 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Why would an asshole gay basher come to an LGBT-interest site to gay bash? Have you nothing more important to do with your life? What do you think we are going to do? Drop down on our knees and pray to the Virgin Mary to restore our lost virginity?

CastielMeow September 3, 2012 at 9:40 am

Wherever one stands on the issue, this was merely a study conducted by a university professor. I don't see rights being violated or laws being changed in light of this study. Studies that are shocking or unpopular come out often. I suggest you use your time more wisely and pick battles that might actually have something at stake or affect your life.

Scott_Rose September 5, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Readers are encouraged to visit the website of Catholics for Equality, here: http://catholicsforequality.org/

gibsonsg1973 September 5, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Yes, one of my foundations supports CFE and will continue to do so. Give it a rest. Go yell at someone poor. Please take note of your rhetoric. Keep the academic colloquy for those you are trying to impress. Lengthy articulations are boring. That's why academia has to ask for money. They can't get to the point.Want to be the best in your field? Research the methods of this country's best sales people. Conservative sales more so. Loose sales continue to fail but do have some “on their feet” ideas. Mix it up. No more cursing. OK? <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV style=”RIGHT: auto” dir=ltr> <DIV style=”BORDER-BOTTOM: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; LINE-HEIGHT: 0; MARGIN: 5px 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; HEIGHT: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 0px; BORDER-TOP: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-TOP: 0px”></DIV>

Scott_Rose September 5, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Yawn.

gibsonsg1973 September 5, 2012 at 9:35 pm

No problem. Have good evening. Do you yawn when losing money? You will. <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV dir=ltr> <DIV style=”BORDER-BOTTOM: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; LINE-HEIGHT: 0; MARGIN: 5px 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; HEIGHT: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 0px; BORDER-TOP: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-TOP: 0px”></DIV>

gibsonsg1973 September 5, 2012 at 9:35 pm

No problem. Have good evening. Do you yawn when losing money? You will. <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV dir=ltr> <DIV style=”BORDER-BOTTOM: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; LINE-HEIGHT: 0; MARGIN: 5px 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; HEIGHT: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 0px; BORDER-TOP: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-TOP: 0px”></DIV>

gibsonsg1973 September 5, 2012 at 9:44 pm

six figure loser. that is, for now.

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