Friday, August 31, 2012

Regnerus, Regnerus, Regnerus

The University of Texas has found that Mark Regnerus is not guilty of academic misconduct. I know that my friend Scott Rose (who lodged the complaint) would disagree with me but I think that the university did the right thing. Academic malfeasance occurs with things like plagiarism or fabricated test results. Ultimately, Regnerus had every right to put out a sloppy, poorly reasoned and incoherent study. Oh, and, by the  way, Regnerus is not an innocent victim in all of this.

The referees should have applied the brakes to this nonsense!
In the final analysis, it was up to the referees (peer reviewers) to stop what I would call intellectual misconduct. They did not do their job. As reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education (emphasis added):
This week, Social Science Research gave a draft to The Chronicle of the results of its audit ["Controversial Gay-Parenting Study Is Severely Flawed, Journal’s Audit Finds"]. Although the audit did not fault the journal’s editor, James D. Wright, nor the review process, it did fault the reviewers and cite serious flaws in the paper, particularly in its misidentification of parents as “lesbian” and “gay” when in fact only two of the people in that category were in long-term, same-sex relationships. As the journal’s auditor, Darren Sherkat, wrote: This misidentification should have “disqualified it immediately” but did not because of “ideology and inattention.”
This is a serious rebuke to Regnerus because, in academia, publishing is everything. The fact that this should never have been published in the first place will forever damage this guy's reputation.

A further flaw, not pointed out in the audit or the Chronicle's coverage of this matter, is that Social Science Research deviates from more prestigious journals in that it is only single-blind. Reviewers know who the author is and, in this case, that created further conflicts and confusion.

More importantly, none of this has anything to do with marriage equality.

In fact, if you actually read the Regnerus results, it really has little to do with gay parenting. This "study" was paid for by a right wing Catholic organization, an Opus Dei affiliate that is closely connected to National Organization for Marriage. NOM got what it paid for; An intellectually dishonest study that they can use     disingenuously     to attack marriage equality.
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