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Regnerus Is ‘Disgraced,’ Anti-Gay Parenting Study ‘Deeply Flawed’ Says Chief Reviewer

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The Regnerus anti-gay parenting “study” by Mark Regnerus (image, above) is “deeply flawed” and as a result, the author himself is “disgraced,” says the study’s top appointed scholarly reviewer.

In a lengthy interview with the Southern Poverty Law Center, Darren Sherkat, a professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University, and a member of the editorial board of Social Science Research — the publisher of the Regnerus “study,” officially the “New Family Structures Study” (NFSS) — once again decimates the Regnerus paper.

“When we talk about Regnerus, I completely dismiss the study,” Sherkat tells the Southern Poverty Law Center:

It’s over. He has been disgraced. All of the prominent people in the field know what he did and why he did it. And most of them know that he knew better. Some of them think that he’s also stupid and an ideologue. I know better. I know that he’s a smart guy and that he did this on purpose, and that it was bad, and that it was substandard.

Regular readers will note that The New Civil Rights Movement was at the forefront of investigating the background and methodology of the Regnerus work, which falsely claimed that adult children raised by gay and lesbian parents by far more likely to perform poorly in life. The Regnerus study claimed that these adults of gay parents had far great chances of using drugs, being on welfare and food stamps, have behavioral problems, and exhibit self-destructive behaviors. The list of negative outcomes was lengthy — and false.

In fact, Regnerus used a sample of adults who were asked not if their parents were LGBT, but if they thought their parents had ever had sex or a relationship with a member of the same-sex. Only a handful of the study’s participants were actually raised by a same-sex couple.

Here at The New Civil Rights Movement, Scott Rose authored dozens upon dozens of articles on Regnerus, and was instrumental in convincing the academic community to re-examine the Regnerus work and the University of Texas to conduct a review of Regnerus’ study.

The New Civil Rights Movement has published over 120 articles on, about, or mentioning Regnerus. You can read them all here.

Below, a few excerpts from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s interview with Darren Sherkat, who “was tapped” by Social Science Research editor James Wright “to conduct an audit of the process of publishing the Regnerus study,” the SPLC writes:

Let’s get down to the details. What’s wrong with the Regnerus paper?
Regnerus and other right-wing activists have been fond of claiming that the study is “population-based” or a “national probability study.” As a scientist, I don’t even know what “population-based” means, and the data used in this study are by no means a probability sample. Regnerus’ data are from a large number of people recruited through convenience by a marketing firm — they are not a random, representative sample of the American population. Science requires random samples of the population, and that is not how this marketing firm collected their data.

Several scholars also have pointed to incongruities and outlandish values in the Regnerus study, such as people claiming hundreds of sex partners in the prior week. The online collection of data makes the veracity of responses even more problematic. The state of the art in family research would use a random sample of households and follow up with parents and children to see whether or not parental couplings impacted child outcomes — controlling for other potential influences like income, education, ethnicity, relationship stability, and the like.

Isn’t a key criticism also that the study doesn’t actually address children growing up in households of self-identified LGBT parents?
The key measure of gay and lesbian parenting is simply a farce. The study includes a retrospective question asking if people knew if their mother or father had a “romantic” relationship with someone of the same sex when the respondent was under age 18. This measure is problematic on many levels.

Regnerus admits that just two of his respondents were actually raised by a same-sex couple, though I doubt that he can even know that, given his limited data. Since only two respondents were actually raised in gay or lesbian households, this study has absolutely nothing to say about gay parenting outcomes. Indeed, because it is a non-random sample, this study has nothing to say about anything.

 

The SPLC notes a troubling increase in right wing funding of research that is designed to guarantee a positive outcome for conservative values and positions.

You mentioned what you see as a trend in academia, the rise of conservative ideologies in science and in funding for research. How widespread is that?
There is in fact a movement to change the intellectual and cultural climate of academics. This has been going on for over 30 years. Look at things like James Davidson Hunter’s Evangelicalism: The Coming Generation, where he talks about the growth of these more intellectual conservative evangelical types in Christian colleges like Wheaton and Gordon and Calvin, which is Regnerus’ alma mater. They’ve actively courted the young, successful people in these colleges to become professors, to become intellectuals, and they support their careers.

One thing that’s disturbing to me about the Regnerus study is that Regnerus received a large amount of money from these foundations and this creates a very different scholarly and intellectual atmosphere. It creates a playing field that’s not level. Someone like Regnerus is now able to go out and buy his own data, if we’re to accept data of this quality.

Even if we were to say it’s high-quality data, he is able to get a million dollars’ worth of influence — he was able to generate that kind of funding from these conservative foundations in a way that other intellectuals are not able to do. All of the traditional sources of social scientific funding have dried up over the last 20 years and there’s nowhere to go to get money, but these guys have it. There are talks in Congress about cutting the entire social science budget at the National Science Foundation. That is chilling, because then we’ll be completely reliant on people like Mark Regnerus and Brad Wilcox [of the University of Virginia] and Christian Smith [of Notre Dame University] and people like that for our information about potentially crucial or controversial issues.

So it’s less about science and more about fighting a culture war?
Absolutely. It’s a real coordinated effort to create a kind of separate culture, to change contemporary culture in broader society. What’s different now is that they are beginning to move into the world, as they call it, and they are adamant about having an impact in the public square. That’s a real change for some of those groups. And they’re enabled in that in a lot of different ways, with the deregulation of education and their ability to create their own educational institutions, to provide home-schooling and all kinds of other alternative educational institutions.

 

Jeremy Hooper at Good As You notes:

This weekend, Mark Regnerus will appear at the “It Takes A Family” conference, a project of the National Organization for Marriage’s Ruth Institute, where he will lecture alongside intensely anti-gay figures like Robert Gagnon. Just in case you needed more grist for the agenda-driven mill.

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OPINION

‘Snooze Fest’: Internet Mocks Trump’s ‘Extremely Boring’ and ‘Low Energy’ CPAC Speech

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White Nationalist One-Term Twice-Impeached Former US President Speaks to Right Wing Group From Nazi-Inspired Stage

For the first time since he incited an insurrection last month the disgraced former American president, Donald Trump, on Sunday delivered what many are calling a “low-energy” and “extremely boring” speech to attendees of CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, in Orlando, Florida late Sunday afternoon.

The ex-president, who started his speech 100 minutes late, looked and sounded far older than he did on January 6, attacking President Joe Biden and insisting that his five weeks performance should be enough for “Democrats to lose the White House” in 2024.

“Actually, as you know, they just lost the White House,” Trump told supporters, adding: “I may even decide to beat them for a third time, who knows?”

The crowd, a mostly over-50 group of white Americans, roared, even though Trump has won only one election, and never the popular vote.

Trump’s speech was very similar to his past stump speeches, filled with racism, white nationalism, and lies about his opponents and the 2020 election that he lost – which he continues to refuse to admit. The “fake news” media, transgender people, and NIH Director Dr. Anthony Fauci were also the target of his attacks.

He also tried to re-instill the perceived victimization of conservatives that fueled his presidency, claiming for example that Americans will no longer be able to hire attorneys because undocumented immigrants are taking them all away from U.S. citizens, which is a lie.

Other lies included that wind energy is bad for the environment,

Some responses:

 

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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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