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Brad Wilcox And The Anti-Gay Regnerus Study Scandal

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WHAT IS THE REGNERUS  STUDY SCANDAL?

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

The anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute long cultivated a relationship, with Regnerus before approaching him to commission a study that would demonize gay people and be available in time for pernicious exploitation during the 2012 elections.

The study — published on June 10, 2012 — was ostensibly, but not actually, on gay parents’ child outcomes.

And, it was purpose-designed and booby trapped against real-life gay parents in the present day, though it did not study them.

Top officials of the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute also have positions of authority over the anti-gay-rights National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

NOM’s founder and mastermind Robert P. George, moreover, is a senior fellow with the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute, as well as a board member of the Family Research Council (FRC), a Southern Poverty Law Centercertified anti-gay hate group known for spreading malicious falsehoods against its umpteen millions of victims, the entire LGBT community and heterosexuals supportive of LGBTers’ equality.

Since the publication of the fraudulent Regnerus study, enemies of gay rights — led by Robert George‘s anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute, NOM and FRC — have been using the “study” as a basis for their anti-gay fear-and-hate-mongering disinformation campaigns.

In response to these anti-gay hate groups’ disinformation campaigns based on the fraudulent Regnerus study, responsible scientists have taken action to correct the scientific record to the public.

A Golinski-case amicus brief analyzing the Regnerus study as scientifically invalid, for example, was jointly filed by 1) the American Psychological Association; 2) the California Psychological Association; 3) the American Psychiatric Association; 4) the National Association of Social Workers; and 5) its California Chapter; 6) the American Medical Association; 7) the American Academy of Pediatrics; and 8) the American Psychoanalytic Association.

Separately, over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s sent a letter to the journal Social Science Research, which published the fraudulent Regnerus study, complaining of its lack of intellectual integrity and its suspiciously rushed publication schedule. An audit revealed that the Regnerus submission had only gotten published through corrupt peer review.

In an echo of when the American Sociological Association banned Paul Cameron and declared that he is not a sociologist, due to his intentional distortions of the scientific record, the ASA is poised to take action against the Regnerus study.

Authorities of the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon, NOM and FRC are notorious for wielding Cameron’s distortions of the scientific record as a weapon against their gay victims.

HOW DO WE KNOW THAT THE REGNERUS STUDY IS FRAUDULENT?

Though the Regnerus study is an avalanche of anti-gay — and other — fraudulence, individual aspects of its fraudulence can be isolated and accurately described as fraudulent.

And, one element of fraudulence in the Regnerus study can easily be grasped through an analogy to shopping for stereo loudspeakers.

Once you have determined that you are going to buy one of two pairs of stereo speakers, you want to listen to them carefully — in an A/B comparison test — to know what acoustical qualities each pair of speakers has.

In order to judge the acoustical qualities of each pair of speakers in an A/B comparison test, you have to listen to them in the same listening environment.

If you listened to the one pair of stereo speakers up in a penthouse, but to the other pair on a busy subway platform, you would not have any rational basis for understanding how the one pair sounds compared to the other pair.

And obviously, the penthouse stereo speakers would benefit from insurmountable acoustical advantages over the subway speakers, even though in reality, that second pair of speakers might actually sound equally good — or better — were it heard up in the penthouse.

Now, here is the question Regnerus alleges he wanted to answer with his study:

“Do the children of gay and lesbian parents look comparable to those of their heterosexual counterparts?”

To answer that question, Regnerus did the equivalent of a stereo speaker A/B test, but he did it by comparing children of heterosexual parents to children of  (improperly labeled) “gay” parents.

And, in his study, Regnerus did the equivalent of putting all of his heterosexual “control group” up in a luxurious penthouse while throwing all of his gay “test group” down onto a busy subway platform.

Then, Regnerus concluded that the children of gay people — whom he had thrown down onto the busy subway platform — looked worse and had less money than the heterosexuals he had put up in the penthouse.

For a more detailed explanation of how the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute and Regnerus booby trapped their study against gays, go here.

For an examination of the anti-gay Regnerus study as a one percenter’s dirty campaign trick, go here.

WHO IS BRAD WILCOX, AND WHAT DOES HE HAVE TO DO WITH THE REGNERUS SCANDAL?

W. Bradford Wilcox is Director of The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.

Wilcox holds positions of authority with many of the institutions caught up in the Regnerus scandal.

For example:

1)
a) Wilcox is the Director of  the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute‘s Program on Marriage, Family, and Democracy.
b) Wilcox’s anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute authorities — by coincidence — arranged for Regnerus’s $785,000 of study funding:     

 2)
a) Wilcox is Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and an associate professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia
b) Regnerus’s study says that “leading family researchers” including at least one from — by coincidence — Wilcox’s University of Virginia designed his (booby trapped) study:

3)
a) Wilcox is on the editorial board of the journal Social Science Research
b)
 The fraudulent Regnerus study was published through corrupt peer review in — by coincidence – Social Science Research

4)
a) Wilcox 
is on the editorial board of the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute’s publication Public Discourse
b) After Regnerus contacted and cultivated a relationship with the gay basher Robert Oscar Lopez, a gay bashing essay by Lopez in support of the Regnerus study was published — by coincidence — on Wilcox’s anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse.

WILCOX’S BAD FAITH PROMOTIONS OF THE ANTI-GAY REGNERUS STUDY

Any trained sociologist would recognize the baseline scientific failures of the Regnerus study.

Regnerus compared a cherry picked heterosexual control group to a test group loaded up with confounding variables. Every Sociology 101 class teaches the necessity of eliminating lurking — to say nothing of glaring — variables.

Nonetheless, Wilcox signed a letter of support for Regnerus, published by the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University, a school described as “A private Baptist university.”

By way of background on Baylor University:

On April 18, 2011, a New York Times article – Gay Rights at Christian Colleges Face Suppression — quoted Baylor University spokeswoman Lori Fogleman as saying:
“Baylor expects students not to participate in advocacy groups promoting an understanding of sexuality that is contrary to biblical teaching.”

Then in November, 2011, Baylor University was criticized for hosting a special sociology course of study titled Homosexuality as a Gateway Drug.

The Baylor letter tells lies about the Regnerus study.

For example,  the letter compares the Regnerus study to another study on gay parents’ children’s outcomes by researcher Daniel Potter.

Like the Regnerus study, the Potter study relied on unscientific speculation on whether the children considered actually had gay parents. Coincidentally, Potter is a recent product of Brad Wilcox’s University of Virginia.

The Potter study actually found that differences between children of gay and heterosexual parents are “nonsignificant.”

But, 1) in talking about the Potter study’s findings; 2) Brad Wilcox and his fellow anti-gay propagandists; 3) cut the word “nonsignificant” out of Potter’s published wording, in order to; 4) falsely allege that Potter’s findings prove that Regnerus was; 5) correct to conclude that gay parents’ children do worse than heterosexual parents’ children.

In the Regnerus and the Potter studies, the failure properly to ascertain whether children’s parents were verifiably gay parents reduces the studies to vicious gossip against gay people.

ONE OTHER EXAMPLE OF A LIE IN THE BAYLOR LETTER IS WORTH DETAILING TO DEMONSTRATE HOW DEEPLY DISHONEST THE SIGNERS ARE:

A little background information is necessary:

A Stanford University sociologist, Michael J. Rosenfeld, produced a 2009 study titled Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress Through School.

Rosenfeld drew several very important conclusions. One is that “children raised by same-sex couples have no fundamental deficits in making normal progress through school.”

Another of Rosenfeld’s conclusions involves the relative values of 1) sociological studies about gay parents based on “large sample nationally representative data” versus; 2)  studies based on smaller “convenience” and/or “snowball” samples.

Though smaller studies on gay parenting consistently find that sexual orientation per se does not impact child outcomes, critics allege that the smaller tests are not adequate to making that determination.  Crucially, then, Rosenfeld concludes his study by saying this:

“The analysis in this paper, using large sample nationally representative data for the first time, shows that children raised by same-sex couples have no fundamental deficits in making normal progress through school. The core finding here offers a measure of validation for the prior, and much debated, small sample studies.”

THE BRAD-WILCOX-SIGNED, BAYLOR LETTER IN SUPPORT OF REGNERUS DELIBERATELY MISLEADS ABOUT THE ROSENFELD STUDY

Rosenfeld’s study on gay parents’ child outcomes used data from the 2000 U.S. Census.

By contrast, Regnerus’s study used data collected through Knowledge Networks, a survey administering company.

In his audit of SSR’s publication of the Regnerus study, SSR editorial board member very strongly criticizes Regnerus’s sloppy, prejudiced abuses of data had through Knowledge Networks. Sherkat, moreover, questions whether the Knowledge Network survey respondent panel can truly be “nationally representative,” given that it is 67.3% female and 32.7% male, which obviously does not reflect gender distribution in the population.

Baylor, however, outright lies, by saying that Regnerus’s study comes “close to resembling the demographics” of Rosenfeld’s study.

The Baylor letter, though, does not state that Rosenfeld’s data came from the 2000 US Census, not from Regnerus’s Knowledge Networks.

Then, from talking about Rosenfeld’s gay parenting study not based on a Knowledge Networks panel, the Baylor letter immediately jumps to talking about a different Rosenfeld study — not on gay parenting — for which Rosenfeld used Knowledge Networks.

The idea Baylor is intending to convey is that 1) Rosenfeld did a gay parenting study and used Knowledge Networks, so that proves 2) that there is nothing wrong with Regnerus’s use of Knowledge Networks.

The criticism is not that Regnerus used Knowledge Networks, the criticism is that Regnerus was sloppy with the data had from Knowledge Networks.

The Baylor letter: 1) does not address, still less rebut, the substantive criticism made of Regnerus’s misuses of his Knowledge Networks data; and the Baylor letter also; 2) deliberately misleads by associating Rosenfeld with Rosenfeld’s gay parenting study, to allege that Rosenfeld and Regnerus had very similar approaches in their gay parenting studies, without mentioning that Rosenfeld did not use Knowledge Networks for his gay parenting study, and that in contrast to Regnerus’s haphazardly and slapdash labeling of people as “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers” though they were not known to be that, Rosenfeld studied children being raised by gay couples known for sure to have been together for at least five years.

In other words, by means of suppressing crucial information about the Rosenfeld gay parenting study, the Baylor letter wrongfully alleges that the Regnerus and Rosenfeld studies are equally valid studies of gay parents’ child outcomes.

WILCOX’S CONFLICTS OF INTEREST IN SIGNING THE BAYLOR LETTER IN SUPPORT OF REGNERUS

In signing the Baylor letter, Wilcox did not disclose the conflict of interest he had in signing it.

Because; 1) Wilcox is an official with the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute, and because; 2) the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute funded the Regnerus study, and because; 3) the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute is very heavily promoting he Regnerus study in anti-gay rights political contexts; 4) Wilcox behaved unethically in signing the Baylor letter without; 5) disclosing his status as an official of the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute.

Moreover, Wilcox was not the only official of the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute who signed the Baylor letter with that same conflict of interest.

The lead signer of the Baylor letter, for example, was Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion Director Byron Johnson, who also is a senior fellow with the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute.

NOW ASK YOURSELF:

WHEN IT COMES TO EVALUATING STUDIES ABOUT GAY HUMAN BEINGS, WHO MERITS MORE SCIENCE-BASED TRUST?

I) A Baptist University in Texas that “expects students not to participate in advocacy groups promoting an understanding of sexuality that is contrary to biblical teaching;” (bolding added);

or

II) 1) the American Psychological Association; 2) the California Psychological Association; 3) the American Psychiatric Association; 4) the National Association of Social Workers; and 5) its California Chapter; 6) the American Medical Association; 7) the American Academy of Pediatrics; and 8) the American Psychoanalytic Association.

WHAT EXACTLY DO WE KNOW ABOUT BRAD WILCOX’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE REGNERUS SCANDAL?

1) We know that at least one “leading family researcher” from the University of Virginia was involved in designing the booby trapped Regnerus study, and we know that Brad Wilcox is a “leading family researcher” at the University of Virginia;

2) We know that at least two of the Regnerus study’s peer reviewers were paid Regnerus study design consultants, meaning that it is possible that Brad Wilcox was one of the paid study design consultants who also peer reviewed the study and approved it for publication; (note that the journal that published Regnerus, Social Science Research, uses “blind” peer review and refuses to disclose the identities of its peer reviewers. Many scientific publications with reputations better than that of Social Science Research use open peer review, in which the peer reviewers’ identities are known.

3) We know that Brad Wilcox is a program director at the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute, we know that the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute helps to fund Wilcox’s National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, and we know that Wilcox’s anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute has been heavily promoting the fraudulent Regnerus study in anti-gay-rights political contexts.

4) We know that Brad Wilcox is an editorial board member of Social Science Research, which published the Regnerus study, and we know that the Regnerus study got introduced to SSR’s editor James Wright by some currently mysterious means and then rushed into publication through corrupt peer review on an unprecedentedly rushed publication schedule.

5) We know that without disclosing his conflict of interest in signing the Baylor letter, Wilcox signed the Baylor letter, which is crammed with distortions of information related to scientific studies, and that all of those distortions are used in attempt support of the (invalid) Regnerus study.

6) We know that Wilcox and Regnerus previously have collaborated professionally; see here for an example. That study co-authored by Regnerus and Wilcox, with others, in fact won the ASA’s 2001 Distinguished Article award in the Sociology of Religion category. (Ironically, though Regnerus in his gay parenting study was cavalier and reckless about his improper classifications of people as “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers,” his study with Wilcox consists of a proposed new scheme for classifying religious traditions, so that studies of religious traditions can be more accurate.

 

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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