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Opinion: The Austin American-Statesman Lets NOM And Regnerus Tell Anti-Gay Lies

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On August 9, 2012, the Austin American-Statesman published a story titled:

“Flap over study on gay parenting raises questions about private funding for research.”

The story purports to be about the criticisms — (scientific and economic) — of a notorious, supposed, but not actual gay parenting “study” executed by the University of Texas at Austin’s Mark Regnerus.

Regnerus alleges to have found — but in reality did not scientifically find — that having a gay parent correlates to bad child outcomes.

Right at the beginning, the Statesman story notes that Regnerus’s critics’ concerns include his study’s funding sources.

Additionally, the Statesman story notes that the criticism of Regnerus and his funders raise questions as to 1) “what constitutes ethical funding for scientific research” and 2) “whether social scientists can be independent from the political biases of their patrons.”

Yet, without at all having examined 1) what makes the Regnerus “study” an absurdity as science, or 2) any of the evidence that Regnerus is in collusion with his gay-bashing political funders, 3) the story concludes by allowing a funder of Regnerus’s “gay parenting” study to tell an absolutely shameless lie, according to which readers are expected to be gullible enough to believe that Regnerus acts independently from his gay-bashing patrons.

NOTICE: Where the Statesman said that criticisms of Regnerus raise a question of “whether social scientists can be independent from the political biases of their patrons,” the phrasing of the question applies to social scientists and their funders, generally.

But where the Statesman let a Regnerus funder untruthfully represent that Regnerus is entirely independent from his anti-gay-rights funders, the Statesman was not being general about social scientists and their funders at all.

Instead, the Statesman was, in effect, giving Regnerus and his funders an unwarranted public relations boost, in the form of a lie that the Statesman did not even minimally fact-check.

What might have been the Stateman’s motives for giving Regnerus and his funders a public relations boost, instead of publishing an in-depth investigative article about them?

This article will examine that question, because — after all — 1) if the idea for a newspaper report was inspired by the Regnerus scandal, and 2) the newspaper report says that the scandal raises the question of “what constitutes ethical funding for scientific research,” you might think that 3) the report would make a serious effort to consider whether Regnerus’s “scientific research” did or did not receive “ethical funding.”

What the Austin American-Statesman did instead — giving Regnerus and his funders an unwarranted public relations boost — is completely unacceptable, and the very opposite of what journalism should do, namely, report facts, not regurgitate dishonest people’s public relations piffle.

Not just coincidentally, anti-gay-rights bigots around the country pluck choice phrases from the Austin American-Statesman reports on the Regnerus scandal, using those choice phrases as though they had been responsibly fact-checked by conscientious reporters and editors. A suspicion thus is born that persons within the Austin American-Statesman could be involved in deliberately shielding persons directly implicated in the Regnerus scandal.

STORY BACKGROUND

Heads of the ill-willed, anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute — who also are heads of the anti-gay-rights National Organization for Marriage — arranged for a known minimum of $785,000 in funding for UT’s Mark Regnerus to execute a “study” on gay parenting.

From the get-go, the study design was “fixed” to demonize gay people.

How do we know that is true?

Regnerus’s “study” is of a test-group, control-group type.

The question that Regnerus alleges he wanted to answer with his “study” is:

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

The methodolgy and study instruments Regnerus used, however, do not answer that question.

In a test-group, control-group study, the test group has the characteristic that a researcher is “testing.”  Regnerus alleges that he intended to “test” whether there are “differences” between 1) young adult children of gay and lesbian parents and 2) young adult children of heterosexual parents.

So, Regnerus’s alleged test group characteristic was that of having “gay and lesbian parents.”  And, he alleges that he intended scientifically to measure his 1) test group against 2) a control group of children of heterosexual parents.

(Parenthetically, it must be mentioned that there is a lot more than just Regnerus’s inappropriate test-group, control-group comparison that marks his “study” as a scientific absurdity).

Now, what does a researcher have to do, in order to be sure of “testing” his test group‘s  test characteristic?  According to expert Dr. Steven Nock:

“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.” (Bolding added).

Nock explains why third factors — apart from parents’ sexual orientations — must not be allowed to cloud the issue.

Remember: the issue in the Regnerus “study” is;

Does having a homosexual parent correlate to a bad child outcome?

Regnerus and his funders are very aggressively — though fraudulently — alleging that his “study” “proved” that there is a correlation between gay parents and bad child outcomes.

The “study,” however, proved no such thing.

Now, explaining why “third factors” must not be allowed to cloud the issue in a gay parenting study, 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.” (Bolding added).

Remember: Regnerus violated many basic ground rules for scientifically carrying out the type of study he disingenuously says he wanted to do.

Though his egregious violations of basic ground rules for test-group, comparison-group type studies are easily understood, Regnerus and his funders mounted — and continue to mount — a huge, nationwide, gay-bashing propaganda campaign, in which the very easily understood basic scientific rules that Regnerus violated get pushed out of consideration — (to use Dr. Stephen Nock’s term, the easily-understood features of Regnerus’s study’s scientific invalidity get “clouded“) — by all the anti-scientific, gay-bashing reich wing noise coming from Regnerus’s funders and their allies.

Along comes this Austin American-Statesman story, supposedly about 1) ethics in science funding; and 2) researchers’ independence from their funders’ political biases; but the story does not at all 3) consider or explain how Regnerus violated basic ground rules for test-group, comparison-group type studies, and then the story twists a knife in that wound by 4) allowing Regnerus’s NOM-linked funder to lie shamelessly, alleging that Regnerus was independent from his funders’ gay-bashing political bias, when mountainous documentation already shows that Regnerus was not — and is not — independent from his funders’ anti-gay-rights politicking.

The very facts of the elementary scientific ground rules that Regnerus’s study plan violated — combined with the facts that 1) Witherspoon gave Regnerus a $55,000 “planning grant” before approving Regnerus’s booby trapped study plan for full funding – do prove — beyond a shadow of the last doubt — that 2) Regnerus is not independent from his funders’ gay-bashing “political biases.”

In this context, some of Regnerus’s attempted deceptions related to his study funding must be mentioned.

REGNERUS’S ATTEMPTS TO DECEIVE THE PUBLIC ABOUT WHY HE TOOK HIS FUNDING FROM THE POLITICAL GAY BASHERS OF WITHERSPOON/NOM

In an interview with The Daily Texan, Regnerus was asked why he took his funding from Witherspoon. Among other things, Regnerus said:

“I had a feeling when we started this project that it would not, you know, survive the politics of peer review” at the National Institute of Health.

(Regnerus’s scientifically invalid study — as turned out — only got published thanks to corrupt peer review).

In the interview, Regnerus also said that the NIH expects “revisions and revisions” and that some scholars don’t feel like going that route.

In any event, in that video interview, asked why he took funding from Witherspoon, 1) Regnerus appears to be 2) trying to convey the impression that 3) he had conceived of a gay parenting study idea all on his own, and that he then 4) seriously thought about seeking funding for a study on gay parenting child outcomes from the National Institute of Health, but 5) after thinking about all his options for who in the world he might wind up  going to for funding, for 6) his very own original idea for a gay parenting study, 6) he wound up asking for, and then getting funding from 4) the Witherspoon Institute.

Yet, the Austin American-Statesman story says that “according to Regnerus and Tellez,” the Witherspoon Institute “approached Regnerus” “about doing a study on gay parenting.”

And that is to say, it appears that, 1) completely unlike the version of his “study” idea’s birth that Regnerus gives in the video interview, 2) the Witherspoon Institute/NOM had their gay-bashing political goals for this “study” very well thought-out, and 3) then they approached Regnerus, offering him first a $55,000 “planning grant,” while 4) letting him know that if his study plan got approved, 5) he could expect to receive a total of $785,000 for his full “study.”

Obviously, when Witherspoon gave Regnerus $55,000 as a “planning grant,” they had to have given him some idea of the total that they would give him for his study, if they wound up approving his study plan. Otherwise, how would Regnerus know what he could plan to do in the study?  And, this question brings up the crucially important issue of what exactly Regnerus did with the $785,000.  Regnerus only surveyed 2,988. His data can be studied by a single scholar on an Excel spreadsheet.  There is no way it costs anything even remotely like $785,000 to survey 2,988 people.

It really does seem that Witherspoon offered Regnerus this incredibly generous “planning grant” of $55,000, to get Regnerus salivating for the full study budget of the presently known, jaw-dropping minimum total of $785,000.

If that is not how things happened between Regnerus and Witherspoon, then both Regnerus and Witherspoon should finally and immediately comply with multiple journalists’ Freedom of Information Act requests to see all of their communications regarding the “study.”

Because UT is a publicly-funded institution, the public has a legitimate immediate interest in knowing how Regnerus might be abusing his position of professional trust at the school.

Additionally, we all know the motto “Trust, but verify.”

Witherspoon should not expect the public to have blind trust regarding Witherspoon’s influence over Regnerus as an employee of a publicly-funded institution. Witherspoon should immediately allow the public to verify the communications it had with Regnerus, NOM, UT and others regarding this “study.”

Regnerus, too, should immediately comply with multiple journalists’ Freedom of Information Act Requests. The Austin American-Statesman article says: “Associate professor Mark Regnerus has denied that those groups colored his work.”

That is an apparent untruth, as Regnerus’s study design — (unscientific and booby-trapped against gay parents as it is, perfectly in line with Witherspoon/NOM’s gay-bashing political uses for Regnerus’s “study”) — shows.

(Furthermore, as if Regnerus’s unscientific, booby-trapped study design were not enough, Regnerus contacted Robert Oscar Lopez after seeing Lopez’s gay bashing remarks in support of his “study” online. Regnerus then conducted correspondence about “LGBT issues” with Lopez. Subsequently, a Lopez essay — chock full of very serious misrepresentations of what the Regnerus study says — was published to Regnerus’s study funder Witherspoon’s website, and then — almost immediately — the Lopez mess was cross-published to the NOM blog as well as to the National Review by NOM’s Maggie Gallager. )

Regnerus’s relationship with Lopez appears to violate the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics. For example, the preamble to Section 10 of the Code of Ethics says this: “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.” (Bolding added).

What does it say about Regnerus’s character, and his apparent collusion with his funders, that 1) after he contacted Lopez first, having seen Lopez’s gay-bashing comments in support of his study online, 2) the Lopez essay containing multiple serious misrepresentations of what Regnerus’s “study” says was 3) published on Regnerus’s Witherspoon funder’s website and 4) immediately cross-posted to other sites by NOM officials?

This is not a case of Regnerus having no knowledge of — or control over — what his funders are doing with his study. Regnerus himself initiated contact with Lopez, had correspondence with him about his study, and then Lopez’s essay with very serious misrepresentations of Regnerus’s study — (misrepresentations that veer hard, and exclusively in the “gay bashing political” direction) — was published on Regnerus’s funders’ website.  Regnerus could put out a  press release, correcting the wrong things Lopez published about his study on his study funder’s website.

Why has Mark Regnerus not done that?

REMEMBER: According to the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics: “Sociologists adhere to the highest professional standards in public communications about their . . . . expertise, work products, or publications, whether these communications are from themselves or from others.”

Regnerus attempts to dupe the public on additional details pertaining to his study as well.

For example, for a July 11, 2012 Austin American-Statesman article, Regnerus is quoted as saying that UT’s Institutional Review Board approved his study protocol.

Regnerus has offered that morsel of deception in many places, actually.

With my existing knowledge of how universities generally operate, I believed that Institutional Review Boards only consider whether proposed studies are safe for their planned human participants.  An IRB might also consider such things as, for example, whether a study plan properly provides for its human subjects’ confidentiality.

But, Institutional Review Boards — as far as I knew — do not consider the scientific soundness of a proposed study.

To fact-check whether that is the case for the University of Texas at Austin, I contacted the Office of the VP & Chief Financial Officer with the following inquiry:

“My understanding of the function of the Institutional Review Board in approving a study plan, is that the board confines itself to determining whether the study plan is “safe” for human participants. i.e, IRB approval in no way implies an endorsement of any other aspect of the study plan, apart from its determinable safeguards for the safety of the human participants? Is my understanding of that correct?

That office responded, by informing me that they had in turn contacted UT’s Office of Research Support. The UT spokesperson told me: “Yes, your understanding of the IRB approval process is correct:  the safety of human subjects participating in a research project.”

That is to say, Regnerus tells the media and the public that UT’s Institutional Review Board approved his study protocol — as though UT’s Institutional Review Board  had approved THE SCIENTIFIC SOUNDNESS of his study plan — when in fact, UT’s IRB made no judgment whatsoever about the scientific soundness of Regnerus’s study plan.

And look what Regnerus told the National Review’s Robert Verbruggen on July 19, 2012:

Significantly, the University of Texas’s Institutional Review Board approved the protocol.” (Bolding added).

Significantly,” Regnerus said.

He obviously is depending on public ignorance of the function of a university’s Institutional Review Board, in hopes of being able to hoodwink the public into believing — erroneously — that UT’s Institutional Review Board approved the scientific soundness of his study plan.

That Regnerus’s Witherspoon/NOM funders are heavily involved with the National Review, hardly makes Regnerus’s duplicitous, disingenuous statement in that publication look any better.

Regnerus should immediately make a public statement, acknowledging that 1) UT’s Institutional Review Board did not evaluate his study plan for scientific soundness, and apologizing for 2) any of his past statements that were ambiguous or misleading on this point.

REGNERUS OF COURSE KNOWS THAT HE USED AN INAPPROPRIATE, INVALID TEST-GROUP, CONTROL-GROUP COMPARISON

Regnerus knows better.

Yes — believe it or not — Mark Regnerus, Ph.D. actually does understand that a test-group, control group study must make a valid comparison for the study to be valid — but, $785,000 in gay-bashing blood money apparently was too hard for him to resist. The Austin American-Statesman story does — as happens – note that this was the largest grant the Witherspoon Institute has ever given for faculty research.

But, since venues like the Austin Statesman refuse to report responsibly on the story, we must — once again — spell out the A, B, C’s  of Regnerus’s violations of elementary scientific ground rules in executing his “study.”

Now, what might be an example of an “important dimension” — (other than the “test” characteristic of sexual orientation) — between 1) Regnerus’s test group of children of gay parents, and 2) his control group of children of heterosexual parents?

That is to say, what might be an example of 1) a third factor that would 2) cloud the issue of whether there is a 3) correlation between 4) gay parents and 5) bad child outcomes?

Take the example of a child loosing a parent prematurely to death.

Significant trauma results from that loss. On the most basic of levels, there are “differences” between children who lost a parent prematurely, and those who did not.

Thus, if 1) a control group of children of heterosexual parents all had lost one parent, and was compared against 2) a test group of children of gay parents, none of whom had lost a parent, then 3) the “important dimension” of having lost a parent would 4) fatally obscure the question of whether the parents’ sexual orientation correlated to the “differences” between 5) the control group of children of heterosexual parents and 6) the test group of children of gay parents.

The differences in such a study’s “findings” — differences, such as, for example, whether the children were happy, whether they excelled in school, whether their family was on welfare, et cetera — could 1) just as well correlate to 2) their having lost a parent prematurely as to 3) their parents being heterosexual.

Nock, in fact, says, that if such “important dimensions” are not eliminated in a test-group, control-group study, then the test-group, control-group study is invalid.

How does a researcher eliminate such extraneous “important dimensions” from his test-group, control-group study?

Well, for example, a study that included 1) a test group of 150 children of gay parents, who had 2) lost one parent prematurely, could be compared to 3) a control group of 150 children of heterosexual parents, who 4) also had lost one parent prematurely.

By making that comparison — (and assuming that there were no other “important dimensions” other than the parents’ sexual orientation on which the test group and control group differed) — a researcher would be able legitimately to test whether the parents’ sexual orientation correlates to differences in child outcomes.

REGNERUS DID THE OPPOSITE OF ELIMINATING THOSE “IMPORTANT DIMENSIONS” OTHER THAN THE PARENTS’ SEXUAL ORIENTATION

If a researcher — like Mark Regnerus — wanted 1) to guarantee in advance that 2) his control group of children of heterosexual parents would 3) emerge from his study 4) looking better than 5) his test group of children of gay parents, 6) what could the researcher do?

For added emphasis here — supposing that 1) Regnerus’s NOM-linked Witherspoon Institute funders 2) wanted to be sure that 3) Regnerus’s study would make gay parents look bad, 4) what could Regnerus do to oblige his anti-gay-rights funders?

Here’s what Regnerus could do to oblige his funders’ requirement that his study make gay parents look bad;

He could “cherry pick” his control group!

REGNERUS CHERRY-PICKED HIS CONTROL GROUP, WHICH IS DISHONEST AND A FORM OF LYING

How does one cherry pick a control group?

Well, for example, a researcher could make sure that none of the people in his control group of children of heterosexual parents had lost either of their parents to premature death.

And, additionally, he could include in his test group of children of gay parents, some people who had lost one parent prematurely.

That way, 1) at least some of the people in the “gay parents” test group would have the “bad” outcomes that correlate to premature loss of a parent, while 2) none of the cherry-picked control-group study respondents with married heterosexual parents would have 3) those “bad” outcomes that correlate to premature loss of a parent.

Additionally, a researcher could entirely booby-trap his “study” against gay parents, by making sure in advance that his test group of children of gay parents had a welter of various “important dimensions”  — (other than their parents’ sexual orientation) — on which they differ from the cherry picked control group of children of heterosexual parents.

And, the “important dimensions” could all be things known to correlate to worse child outcomes.

That is exactly what Regnerus did. In cherry-picking his control group of children of heterosexual parents, Regnerus booby-trapped his “study” against his “study’s” “gay” parents.

YES; REGNERUS CHERRY-PICKED HIS CONTROL GROUP OF CHILDREN OF HETEROSEXUAL PARENTS, BOOBY-TRAPPING HIS “STUDY” AGAINST HIS “STUDY’S” “GAY” PARENTS

Here is how we know that Regnerus made sure that none of the people in his control group of children of heterosexual parents had lost a parent to premature death.

At this link, you may view Regnerus’s Survey Instrument. The Survey Instrument shows the questions Regnerus asked respondents, and the order in which he asked the questions.

Firstly, Regnerus determined whether his respondents were in the desired age group; 18 to 39.

Then, this was the second question Regnerus asked:

“Did you live together with BOTH your biological mother AND biological father the entire time from when you were born until age 18 (or until you left home to be on your own)?”

NOTE VERY CAREFULLY: The capitalized “BOTH” and “AND” as well as the underscoring of  “the entire time” is exactly as the question appears in Regnerus’s Survey Instrument.

That fact illustrates how very fastidious Regnerus was about cherry picking his control group.

Regnerus’s 1) control group study participants 2) had to have lived with 3) BOTH their biological mother AND 4) their biological father 5) “the entire time” from when they were born until they were 18 or left home to be on their own.

Why — in his Survey Instrument‘s second question — was Regnerus so insistent that respondents had to have lived with “BOTH” their biological mother “AND” their biological father “the entire time” until they were 18?

Regnerus was 1) so insistent about those circumstances qualifying respondents for inclusion in 2) his cherry-picked control group, because 3) he had intent to compare 4) his cherry-picked control group with 5) his test group of children of unscientifically — (and deceptively) — labelled “gay parents” whom 5) he wanted to demonize — because 6) his funders who have given him a known minimum total of $785,000 wanted him to 7) demonize gay parents.

Regnerus demonized his test group by making sure that all members of it were marked by what Dr. Stephen Nock calls “important dimensions” that cloud the issue of whether having a gay parent correlates to bad child outcomes.

As Dr. Nock said: “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.”

Whereas Regnerus was extremely fastidious about cherry picking his control group — capitalizing BOTH and AND, and underlining  “the entire time”, he applied no such calculated specificity to his selection and (mis)labeling of children of “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers.”

Regnerus did survey young adult children of heterosexual parents having other “family structures,” including divorce, never married, et cetera.  Comparing his deceptively, unscientifically mislabeled children of “gay” parents of his test group — (the majority of them products of broken heterosexual marriages)  — to any of those other family structures would have come closer to scientific validity than did comparing them to his cherry picked control group.

But Regnerus’s published “study” compares his cherry picked control group — inappropriately and unscientifically — to his test group of children of “gay” parents, whom Regnerus’s funders paid him a known minimum of $785,000 to demonize, for pernicious exploitation in political and legal contexts.

Regnerus even told The Weekly Standard’s Andrew Ferguson that his invalid test-group, control-group comparison is “arguably unfair.”

No, Mr. Regnerus; the comparison is not “arguably” unfair; it is unfair, period.

And, frankly, “fairness” per se is not the issue.

The issue is that Regnerus’s test-group, control-group comparison is not valid as science.

Ferguson’s article attempts to create an alibi for the profoundly dishonest Regnerus, by saying that Regnerus never claimed causation between gay parents and bad child outcomes.

But causation is not the issue.

THE ISSUE IS that Regnerus falsely alleges that his study proves correlation between gay parents and bad child outcomes — whereas in reality, scientifically it does no such thing.

 REGNERUS’S FUNDERS’ TIES TO THE ANTI-GAY-RIGHTS POLITICAL ARMS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OF ROME

Now, which of Regnerus’s funders did the Austin American-Statesman allow to lie about Regnerus having independence from the funder’s gay-bashing political bias?

The answer to that question is:

Luis Tellez, President of the Witherspoon Institute, who is also a board member of the scientifically disreputable, gay-bashing group The National Organization for Marriage.

Tellez additionally is the New York regional director of  The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, which is a “personal prelature” of the Pope. What that means, is that Tellez is a key figure for promoting the political and financial fortunes and goals of the Catholic Church in the Americas.

The Catholic Church of Rome has specific, world-wide political goals of blocking gay human beings from having civil rights.

In the past, Tellez has shamelessly lied about Opus Dei’s and the Church’s shared political militancy against civil rights for gay people. In this report for example, we read that Opus Dei members “vehemently deny they have any political leanings.” Then, we read Tellez’s words of praise for:

“Russell Shaw, the former press secretary for the National Catholic Conference of Bishops and now the director of communications for the Knights of Columbus.”

In 2009, the Knights of Columbus — (described as “the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization”) — gave $1.4 million to Regnerus funder Luis Tellez’s National Organization for Marriage.

How about that?

How is that for Opus Dei’s New York regional director Luis Tellez vehemently denying that he has any political leanings? (And how is that for the Knights of Columbus being a fraternal service organization?)

The $1.4 million donation to the lying, scientifically disreputable NOM eclipsed “what the Knights’ Supreme Council spent on some of its own charitable programs — such as its new effort supporting food banks or its total spending on education initiatives.”

Instead of helping the poor, Regnerus’s Catholic Church-linked funders are beating down on gays.

Yes, you read that right: Luis Tellez’s political anti-gay-rights group, NOM, took $1.4 million from the Catholic Knights of Columbus, for efforts towards imposing Catholic dogma about human sexuality on entire civil populations, through civil laws.

Whereas Witherspoon and NOM share top officials in common, NOM is a 501(c)4 while Witherspoon is a tax exempt 501(c)3. There is a strong appearance that in its funding of the Regnerus “study,” Witherspoon and NOM were playing a tax laws shell game, paying for the Regnerus study through the 501(c)3 tax exempt Witherspoon Institute, even though the study was conceived primarily for use as a NOM weapon to defeat President Obama. (You can read about that here).

Recently, NOM’s Yes on 8 in California admitted guilt to 18 counts of violating campaign finance laws.

That NOM group — Yes on 8 — wants to settle the case for money, though California’s Fair Political Practices Commission has yet to decide whether to allow the proposed settlement.  Why does NOM want to settle?  Because if the State of California goes ahead with criminal prosecutions, NOM leaders — (perhaps even including Luis Tellez, who is, after all, a NOM board member) — could conceivably wind up in jail.

Who if not the NOM board was involved in approving the move to admit guilt to 18 counts of violating campaign finance laws, and offering to settle the case for $49,000 (a sum less than Regnerus’s $55,000 “planning grant”)?

REGNERUS’S STUDY, AND CATHOLIC DOGMA ON HUMAN SEXUALITY

Catholic dogma on masturbation is no less anti-scientific than Catholic dogma on homosexuality.  The Catholic Catechism calls masturbation “an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.”

If — counter to all scientific knowledge about human sexuality — individuals want to believe that masturbation is “an intrinsically and gravely disordered action” — fine, but it would not be legitimate for them to attempt to outlaw masturbation through civil laws.

Regnerus could just as easily — (and no less absurdly) — have cherry-picked a control group and then manipulated his data to “prove” scientifically that parents who masturbate have worse child outcomes than parents who do not masturbate.

And as happens, Regnerus included two questions about masturbation in his Survey Instrument. 1) “Have you ever masturbated?” and 2) “When did you last masturbate?”

Regnerus’s study respondents were given an opportunity to decline to say whether they had ever masturbated. According to Regnerus’s survey responses report, 110 did not answer the question. But, 620 respondents between 18 and 39 years of age answered “No,” meaning that they had never in their lives masturbated, not even once.

That reported response in the data would not seem to reflect Regnerus’s respondents’ sexual realities.

If by chance it did, one could wonder how it happened that Regnerus got 620  individuals between 18 – 39, who had never in their lives masturbated, in his “study,” which he alleges contains results statistically accurate, nationally.

The relevant consideration here is this: Regnerus claims that his study’s “findings” are “statistically accurate” for the entire population of the United States, including for all gay parents in the United States.

Yet, according to his study’s “findings,” out of every 2,988 people in the U.S. between 18 and 39 years of age, 620 have never masturbated, not even once.

Does that sound — for the whole population — statistically accurate to you?

Do you really believe that out of every 2,988 people aged 18 to 39 in the United States, 620 have never once in their lives masturbated?

And, if Regnerus has so apparent a blooper in his “findings,” why would anybody believe that the remainder of his “findings” were accurate, or statistically applicable to the entire population, including the entire population of gay parents?

REGNERUS’S FUNDER TELLS A BIG FAT LIE

Now, here is the obvious and shameless Luis Tellez lie with which the Austin American-Statesman ended its article:

“We knew that (the study) would probably, one way or the other, be a disappointment to some people. It would disappoint us, or donors, or people on our left,” Tellez said, later adding, “We let the chips fall where they may.” (Bolding added)

I have a bridge to sell anybody who believes that Tellez/Witherspoon/NOM “let the chips fall where they may” after commissioning their $785,000 worth of anti-gay political hate speech from Regnerus.

WHY DID THE AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN PUBLISH A PUBLIC RELATIONS PIECE FOR LUIS TELLEZ?

The Austin American-Statesman’s article is profoundly irresponsible.

It did not examine, at all, so much as the possibility that Regnerus is in collusion with his funders.

The final take-away from the article is that Regnerus’s funders gave him the jaw-dropping sum of $785,000 for a sociological study, with no requirement for the study to come out being useful to them in their political gay bashing.

That Regnerus 1) cherry picked his control group of children of heterosexual parents, in order to 2) booby trap his “study” against the “gay” parents of his test group respondents, 3) proves that Tellez is lying about 4) Witherspoon having “let the chips fall where they may” with Regnerus’s “study” after 5) giving Regnerus a known minimum of $785,000 for his “study.”

Don’t forget: as mentioned above, Witherspoon first gave Regnerus a $55,000 “planning grant.” Had Witherspoon not liked Regnerus’s “plan” — booby-trapped against gay parents — it would not have funded his “study.”

Regnerus’s study plan included the plan to cherry pick the control group of heterosexual parents, in order to booby trap the study against the “gay” parents of its test group.

Given that there is a scientific and scholarly misconduct inquiry currently in process regarding Regnerus at the University of Texas at Austin, it is possible that the Austin American-Statesman — for whatever reasons — is actively striving to sway local, and national opinion about the matter, by publishing what amounts to a public relations piece for Regnerus, Witherspoon and the University of Texas.

The Austin American-Statesman’s reports on the Regnerus scandal get quoted around the country, with choice phrases from them employed as though they had been fact-checked by conscientious news professionals.  Reporters are supposed to endeavor to report facts, not regurgitate dishonest people’s public relations piffle.

Whatever the Austin American-Statesman’s motivations, the publication has done the very opposite of speaking truth to power: it has allowed power to tell a big fat lie.

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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COMMENTARY

Right-Wing Outraged Over Falsely Thinking White House Press Secretary Said National Security Council Is Using ‘TikTok’

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For decades White House press secretaries, military officers, and reporters have used the words “tick-tock” to denote an overview of a conversation, or a chronological telling of a series of events – and not the now-popular Chinese app “TikTok,” which some allege has major national security implications.

And yet, the far-right-wing website Daily Caller, a veteran Fox News host, and many others on the social media site Twitter attacked Karine Jean-Pierre Monday afternoon, after the White House Press Secretary told the press: “I know there was a tick-tock that went out to all of you from the National Security Council that was pretty detailed on how everything broke down for the past week.”

Inside Elections’ Jacob Rubashkin mocked The Daily Caller, (which was founded by Tucker Carlson,) for getting something so basic so wrong.

READ MORE: Morning Joe Reminds Viewers of the Last Time the Koch Network ‘Stopped the Craziness’ in GOP Primaries

Longtime journalist Keith Olberman blasted several people on Twitter who assumed the worst, including veteran Fox News reporter David Asman.

He didn’t stop there.

 

 

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News

House Ethics Committee Begins Questioning Santos Staffers

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The U.S. House Committee on Ethics has begun questioning staffers for embattled Rep. George Santos, who on Friday was accused of sexual harassment and improper hiring practice by a prospective aide the New York Republican interviewed and hired.

CNN Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona, reporting the committee’s questioning, calls it “a sign that the committee is looking into some of the allegations against Santos, though it doesn’t necessarily mean a formal investigation has been launched yet.”

“It is unclear what exactly the committee asked these staffers about, but multiple ethics complaints have been filed against Santos,” Zanona adds.

READ MORE: Watch: Democrats File Ethics Complaint Against George Santos After GOP Leadership Calls It an ‘Internal’ Matter

Most recently, a prospective staffer filed a complaint that the congressman made an unwanted sexual advance.

Two New York Democrats last month also filed an ethics complaint against Santos over his financial disclosure reporting.

 

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Jordan’s First Hearing on ‘So-Called’ Weaponization of Government Mocked Over Conspiracy Theorist Witnesses

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Its first hearing isn’t until Thursday but already Chairman Jim Jordan‘s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government is being mocked after the list of witnesses was released.

NBC News’ Garrett Haake reports testifying before the committee on Thursday will be ex-Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and former FBI special agent Nicole Parker.

Gabbard left the Democratic Party and is now an independent and a Fox News contributor. In 2019, Hillary Clinton suggested she was a Russian asset being groomed for a third-party presidential run. She sued the former Democratic presidential nominee and former U.S. Secretary of State but later dropped the defamation lawsuit.

Also, Gabbard “shared false information,” Forbes reported last year, “about U.S. involvement in Ukraine biological laboratories … giving credence to an unfounded Russian-backed conspiracy theory the U.S. has warned could serve as justification for Russia to use biological and chemical weapons against Ukraine.”

READ MORE: Santos Denies Sexually Assaulting Prospective Staffer Working in His Office – Calls Allegations ‘Comical’

Sen. Johnson, who narrowly won re-election after being among the top promoters of Donald Trump’s “Big Lie,” is a conspiracy theorist who uses his Senate seat to spread false information about COVID and a host of other crises.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza branded Johnson the “Senate’s leading conspiracy theorist” just one year ago. The Washington Post reported last May that Sen. Johnson “expressed openness” to “a fervent anti-vaccination” commentator’s “idea that maybe the coronavirus vaccines are a conduit for deliberately giving people AIDS.”

Sen. Grassley has come under fire for his racist remarks about COVID-19, dangerously false claims about the IRS, and apparent falsehoods about the January 6 insurrection and its participants.

Last year The American Independent reported Grassley told a constituent “what you said is accurate.” According to The Independent, the constituent said during a town hall: “Knowing that the FBI and Capitol Police were complicit in Jan. 6, what have you done to get the political prisoners being held in gulag conditions out on bail?”

Some were quick to mock Chairman Jordan’s choice of witnesses to testify before his subcommittee’s first hearing.

“Johnson actively pushed the WI legislature & the VP to overturn the election. Tulsi used her perch in Congress to secretly meet with Assad & whitewash his war crimes. so in a sense, they are indeed experts on weaponizing gov’t.,” mocked former Hillary Clinton foreign policy spokesperson Jesse Lehrich.

READ MORE: ‘Whatever Side Bet on Stupid Won Big’: Steve Schmidt Scorches Marco Rubio for ‘Kernels of Imbecility’ on Balloongate

Jim Manley, a top aide to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, described the panel as “low energy.”

NBC News Justice reporter Ryan J. Reilly pre-deflated Parker’s possible contributions, citing her as saying: “’I was never asked to participate in anything that was political,’ Nicole Parker said in one of her Fox News hits (Hannity, specifically).”

Even CNN did not hide its skepticism, beginning its reporting with this line: “The GOP-led House select subcommittee on so-called weaponization of the federal government will draw upon a prominent ex-Democrat, two of their Republican Senate colleagues, and a former FBI agent in their first public hearing to discuss how they believe the government has been weaponized against conservatives, multiple sources familiar with the plans tell CNN.”

 

 

 

 

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