Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Witherspoon Institute publishes an anti-gay book

The anti-gay (and Opus Dei) Witherspoon Institute has published a book; No Differences? How Children in Same-Sex Households Fare. I am certain that it is a can't-put-it-down page turner.

No Differences has a purpose which is to trot out the discredited research of investigators (all Defenders of the Faith) who conclude that gay couples are crappy parents ergo gay marriage is a bad idea. I would note that Witherspoon financed at least one of these studies performed by Mark Regnerus. Regnerus' conclusions were so flawed that his own professional association, the American Sociological Association, took him to task with a countering amicus brief in United States v. Windsor.

We know about this book because one of its authors, John Londregan, decided to tout the tome on Witherspoon's blog. Londregan,, a professor at Princeton University, claims:
This is an increasingly important topic, as many countries have extended their definition of marriage to encompass same-sex couples, while others are considering doing so. Because of their policy relevance, the papers in this volume will be read by many for their importance to the approval of particular referenda, or to the outcome of a specific Supreme Court test case. That is unfortunate.
What I find unfortunate is the lack of attention that this book gives to the children of married same-sex parents. What I find unfortunate is the notion that the APA's “no differences” conclusions are just part of a politically correct agenda; This coming from an organization bent on torturing science to be consistent with the faith beliefs of a religious group.

Three other authors, are featured in this book. They are Loren Marks, Walter R. Schumm and Douglas Allen.

Loren Marks
Loren Marks (whose primary claim seems to be that all the other studies have biased sampling) published his paper simultaneous with Regnerus' paper. Yet (as Scott Rose notes), he cites Regnerus several times. This was clearly an orchestrated effort choreographed by the Catholic hierarchy and its agents to sway the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor. Perhaps they were also trying to sway the electorate.

Walter Schumm
Walter R. Schumm, a sociology professor at Kansas State University, is an anti-gay careerist. Some may recall that about five years ago, Schumm claimed that the children of gay parents were more likely to be gay. This was actually a paper in support of the thoroughly discredited Paul Cameron. In 2008, Schumm authored a paper titled Re-evaluation of the "no differences" hypothesis concerning gay and lesbian parenting as assessed in eight early (1979-1986) and four later (1997-1998) dissertations. Schumm's explanation for studies he doesn't like are best explained with another one of his papers titled Evidence of pro-homosexual bias in social science: citation rates and research on lesbian parenting. Part of his “proof” is that three peer-reviewed papers have the same author. Talk about balls.

Douglas W. Allen
Douglas Allen is a professor of economics at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. Allen often partners with another economist, Catherine Pakaluk, out of Ave Maria University. Allen concluded in 2013 that, on average, children raised in same-sex homes were about 65 percent as likely to graduate from high school, compared to similar children in married opposite sex homes. Sure. According to SFU Allen's field of study is the economics of transaction costs and property rights. Apparently that makes him well suited for amateur sociology to evaluate gays and gay parents. Allen's specialty is to decompose the sampling of real sociologists and then to reconstitute them to produce findings that are consistent with the teachings of the Church. That's how he ends up with utterly preposterous “research” like his high school graduation tripe.

Real research starts with an hypothesis. Tests are conducted and observed. Conclusions are based on those observations and are agnostic with respect to the original hypothesis. It is called the scientific method. These folks start with a conclusion based on religious belief. Then, through selective observation, they claim that their test observations prove that the religious doctrine is true. Voila! Religion is science and science is religion. It's little different from the spew of young earth creationists.

In the final analysis, Witherspoon's book recycles the same tedious and discredited nonsense that makes its way into amicus briefs opposing LGBT rights. Now that the Supreme Court has marriage teed up this spring we can expect a flurry of religious doctrine authored by zealous adherents and masked as scientific research. The same discredited crap will make its way into amicus briefs again. None of this nonsense is really pertinent to the central question regarding the applicability of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to same-sex marriage.

Absent a logical argument to oppose same-sex marriage they oppose it through same-sex parenting. In reality, for the most part, the same gay couples are going to raise the same kids regardless of the legality of same--sex marriage. The only difference will be whether the parents of those children are legally married or just partnered. Of those two choices, which children will enjoy an advantage? People who really care about kids should be advocates of marriage equality. These folks aren't interested in children. Their interests are in ancient texts and the pronouncements of ambitious prelates who have even less erudition in sociology.

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