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Opinion: In Regnerus Study Scandal, Anti-Gay Rights Funder Manipulated Data

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University of Texas at Austin researcher Mark Regnerus took $785,000 in funding from anti-gay-rights groups — including the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation — to carry out a study on same-sex parents’ child outcomes.

Regnerus alleges to have proven correlations between same-sex parents and negative child outcomes.

Among scientists with expertise in family sociology generally and same-sex parenting in particular, however, Regnerus’s study has overwhelmingly been judged scientifically invalid.

For Regnerus as a non-topic-expert to presume to make a study of same-sex parenting is preposterous.

Yes, he is a sociologist. No, he does not have the first clue about legitimate science involving homosexuality, homosexuals or same-sex parenting. To begin to comprehend how irresponsible Regnerus is in this, think of a scholar of English literature, with no knowledge of either Japanese or Japanese literature, presuming to carry out a professional-level study on Japanese literature.

Withespoon’s top-most officials also hold positions of authority with other anti-gay-rights groups.  Witherspoon senior fellow Robert P. George, for example, is co-founder and current mastermind of the National Organization for Marriage, and the Family Research Council, an SPLC-certified anti-gay hate group. Both NOM and FRC have been heavily promoting the Regnerus study in anti-gay-rights political contexts in the 2012 elections.

In Section 2 of his study – titled Data collection, measures, and analytic approach – Regnerus alleges that:

the funding sources played no role at all in the design or conduct of the study, the analyses, the interpretations of the data, or in the preparation of this manuscript. ”

However, documentation reveals that a top Witherspoon Institute official — W. Bradford Wilcox — assisted Regnerus with data analysis for his study.

Witherspoon’s 2010 IRS 990 form shows that Wilcox is Director of the Witherspoon program that is Regnerus’s chief funder; the program for Marriage, Family and Democracy.

At this link, contracts for two Regnerus study consultants may be viewed; one for Paul Amato, the other for Wilcox.

The Wilcox contract states that Wilcox was and is being paid to assist Regnerus with data analysis.

The public does not know how Regnerus derived his published study’s numerical “findings” from his raw data. The raw data have not yet been made public. What the public so far may access, is Regnerus’s study Codebook and the numerical figures given in his published study.

The numbers given in Regnerus’s Codebook do not match the numbers given in his published study. Regnerus told a source that the lack of correspondence is due to the Codebook containing “unweighted” data and the published study containing “weighted” data.

Weighting” is one among many different options sociologists may employ, ideally in order to have their findings be as close to accurate as possible for whichever populations and characteristics they are studying.

However, Regnerus’s raw data as recorded in his Codebook are profoundly dubious. For example, consider the Regnerus Codebook response rates for Regnerus’s study question “Have you ever masturbated?”

Out of 2,988 respondents between 18 and 39-years-old, 620 said that they had never once in their lives masturbated.

Regnerus makes the claim that all of the results of his study have “statistical power” and apply to all young adult children of same sex parents in the United States.

Yet, if Regnerus’s “statistical power” claim were correct for his data, then one would have to believe it true that out of every 2,988 Americans between 18 and 39-years-old, 620 had never once in their lives masturbated.

On the basis of such blatant error, Regnerus and his funders have been using the study to demonize gay people in political contexts.

Regnerus, Wilcox and the University of Texas at Austin were asked to comment on Regnerus’s apparent lie about none of his funders having been involved with his data analyses.

As of publication time, none of those parties had responded.

 

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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'POLICY WASTELAND'

Trump Has Left Behind a Republican Party Almost as ‘Toxic’ as He Is: GOP Adviser

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According to a report from Politico, Donald Trump may no longer be president but the Republican Party he left behind has been damaged to the point where it has almost become as “toxic” as he is to voters, according to one former top aide to a Republican senator.

As the report notes, high-profile members of the Republican party are still pushing Trump’s “Big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from him and have made that their focus going forward in lieu of proposing new policies that would allow them to win back the White House and both chambers on Congress.

Writing for Politico, David Siders explained, “Nearly four months after the election and one month into Joe Biden’s presidency, the politics of grievance has become the near-singular organizing principle of the post-Trump GOP. And whether at CPAC or in statehouses across the country, policy prescriptions for restoring so-called voter integrity have emerged as the primary focus of the party’s energy.”

That focus on stopping people from voting could blow up in their faces, but worse still, it means they have no other message for voters other than the fact that they are lingering on Trump’s loss.

Benjamin Ginsberg, a conservative election lawyer asked, “Tell me what the innovative Republican policies have been of late?” before adding it is “probably a sign that the Republican Party is mired in a bit of a policy wasteland and doesn’t know which way to turn to get out.”

According to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who served in President George W. Bush’s administration, there is no evidence of widespread election fraud and Republicans harping on it is, “a big distraction. And I worry that it will continue to be a big distraction as long as a certain individual makes statements that it was stolen.”

Former Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) adviser Kevin Madden was a bit more blunt in his assessment.

“It is a party that has been fashioned in the mold of Trump — Trump’s message, Trump’s tactics — and it is perfectly comfortable being a party that is defined by what it’s against,” he explained before adding, “… you become almost toxic as a party brand to larger, growing parts of the electorate. … The limitation of a message and a platform that’s just about disagreeing with the opposition is that it doesn’t speak to the broader concerns or anxieties of a big part of the electorate.”

You can read more here.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Matt Schlapp Lashes Out at Critics of CPAC’s Nazi Symbol Stage Design

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The head of the Conservative Political Action Committee on Saturday attacked critics noting CPAC’s stage looks like a Nazi symbol.

Matt Schlapp made his denial after “Nazi” trended nationwide on Twitter as users discussed the stage looking like an Odal rune symbol.

Schlapp, however, did not apologize. Instead he said, “stage design conspiracies are outrageous and slanderous.”

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GRIFTERS

Trump Is Making Noises About a 2024 Run to Get Rich Off the ‘Rubes’: Ex-White House Official

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President Donald Trump will be running for president for a third time in 2024, but the effort will be largely geared towards personal enrichment, a former official explained on Saturday.

MSNBC’s Alex Witt interviewed Anthony Scaramucci, who briefly served as Trump’s communications director in 2017.

“Is he going to run in 2024 or is this just a great excuse to fundraise?” Witt asked.

“I think it’s both,” Scaramucci replied. “I think he’s going to run in 2024, this is the most money he’s ever made — just imagine making $300 million off of these rubes that he’s coning after the election with his big lie. So he’ll run again in 2024.”

“Will he go to the finish line? Maybe not,” he continued. “There are 10 or 12 Republicans that see themselves as a future president. They’re going to try to find ways to undermine him, obviously Governor Nikki Haley already started that process, so I don’t know if he gets to the finish line, but why would he not run and raise money off the rubes that he’s raising money from?”

“Right, but if he runs, do you really think he doesn’t get the nomination?” Witt asked. “Today he would, there’s no doubt today he would get it.”

“I think it could get interrupted by the potential criminal investigations that are going on and the potential indictments, so if he runs and there are no indictments and I think he has a clear path to that nomination, and that’s why Sen. McConnell said ‘Of course I’m going to support him’ — which is even more levels of hypocrisy, but yes, he runs, he wins the nomination,” Scaramucci replied. “There is risk here, though, because of his potential tax fraud case and other cases — even the D.C. case related to the insurrection is a potential speed bump to him getting that nomination.”

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