Friday, October 14, 2016

Science Prostitute Mark Regnerus Reappears at Witherspoon

Mark Regnerus
Friday, Mark Regenerus shows up at the blog of orthodox Catholic Witherspoon Institute to claim that he has been right all along. According to Friday's piece titled “Hijacking Science: How the ‘No Differences’ Consensus about Same-Sex Households and Children Works:”
The claim that there are no differences in outcomes for children living in same-sex households arises from how scholars collect, analyze, and present data to support a politically expedient conclusion, not from what the data tend to reveal at face value.
“Hijacking science?” In 2013 Regnerus was funded by the same Witherspoon Institute to study same-sex parenting. The objective of the study was to “prove” that gay couples were not fit parents. The purpose of the study was to influence the Supreme Court's deliberations on marriage equality. Not wanting to take any chances a Witherspoon fellow, W. Bradford Wilcox, assisted with the design of the study. Wilcox was also one of the peer reviewers in spite of the fact that he was a paid consultant to the project. Ultimately Regnerus delivered the goods. Regnerus then went on the discrimination tour — testifying in various courts in an attempt to thwart marriage equality. In 2014 Michigan Federal District Court Judge Bernard Friedman concluded, in part:
The Court finds Regnerus’s testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration. The evidence adduced at trial demonstrated that his 2012 study was hastily concocted at the behest of a third-party funder … While Regnerus maintained that the funding source did not affect his impartiality as a researcher, the Court finds this testimony unbelievable. The funder clearly wanted a certain result, and Regnerus obliged.
“Hijacking science?” In 2013, Bill Keller at the New York Times put it this way:
He compared two groups of young adults. The first group told interviewers that at some point in their upbringing a parent experienced a same-sex “romantic relationship.” In most cases, the parents subsequently broke up. In other words, this group wasn’t the offspring of committed gay couples but of failed unions, some of them probably sham marriages. It’s not even clear whether the parents who strayed were gay or lesbian, or simply experimenting. The second group consisted of kids who spent their childhoods in lasting, married, mom-and-dad families.

Guess which group had problems?
Keller went on to write:
Regnerus, when I talked to him, conceded that his study compared apples and oranges, because “I didn’t have oranges.”
Regnerus' study was obliterated by his peers in an audit and by his own professional association (starts at page 15):
Regnerus acknowledges, his study did not examine, and provides no conclusions regarding,the wellbeing of children who lived with and were raised by same-sex parents.
In Friday's piece Regnerus remarkably compares research on same-sex parenting to climate science:
What we have, rather, is a political consensus generated by lots of small studies of tiny, non-representative samples misinterpreted as applying to the entire population of same-sex parents. It is—by comparison to climate change—like saying that since the surface temperatures in Taiwan, Togo, and Texas have inched up a degree or two that the entire globe must have as well. Scientists know better than to declare such a thing based on limited evidence.
Tiny? The latest Australian study included 315 same-sex couples raising 500 children: “We found that children from same-sex families scored, on average, 6 percent better on two key measures, general health and family cohesion, even when controlling for a number sociodemographic factors such as parent education and household income,” wrote lead researcher Simon Crouch. “But on most health measures, including emotional behaviour and physical functioning, there was no difference when compared with children from the general population.”

Things have likely improved over the last two years, at least in the United States, due to the spread of marriage equality.  And by the way, how many children of how many committed gay couples did Regnerus study? Two? If he is going to complain about small samples he should start with his own.

Regnerus continues through his polemic by pointing out what he considers to be the various flaws in studies. Regnerus' approach to this research is theoretical. Theoretical because Regnerus has not produced — and cannot produce — research that contradicts the consensus that children raised by gay couples are at least as healthy, happy and secure as the children raised by straight couples. He tried. He didn't. He failed.

Regnerus is a defender of the faith, a zealous Catholic convert. I get that. There is nothing inherently wrong with that:
Children Need Both Mothers and Fathers

At bottom the question remains: what is best for children? The answer to that question has not changed. The children of the world do not want liquid love. They want the solid, stable presence of a mother and a father, preferably their mother and their father. It’s not always possible, I realize, but let’s not pretend it doesn’t matter.
There is nothing inherently wrong with that providing that there is a clear separation between science and theology. It is just my opinion but I think that Regnerus makes a deliberate effort to blur the lines and muddy the waters.

This all reminds me of evangelical Christians who insist that Evolution is bad science in order to torture reality to conform to their faith. Indeed, Dr. Regnerus has become quite proficient at the Gish Gallop. Regnerus has previously pointed to this blog as evidence of his persecution. Perhaps he should give some thought to the detrimental effects of his bullshit on gay couples and the children they raise. He needs to stop hurting people.

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