Thursday, May 30, 2013

Chief Reviewer Trashes Regnerus Anti-Gay Parenting "Study"

Mark Regnerus - author of discredited anti-gay study

In both Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor the Christofascists tried to make much of the far right funded "study" Mark Regnerus which seemingly had a preordained conclusion before Regnerus ever started and which most certainly did not study what it claimed to cover.  In short, the study was a fraudulent piece that was funded by Christofascists for the very purpose of misleading the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts considering gay rights cases.   In short, the "study" is more akin to something Paul Cameron might produce rather than a serious scientific study.  Now a reviewer of the work has slammed Regnerus and his propaganda piece "study."   Here are highlights from The New Civil Rights Movement:

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.
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.
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.

It's troubling that to date Regnerus has not been disciplined by the university that employs him and has not lost any memberships in professional organizations.  Is this yet another example of unfounded deference to conservative religious beliefs?   No one lies as often and as viciously than the "godly folks."

P.S. My fellow blogger 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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