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Academics intending to investigate the social effects of same-sex unions may think twice after the ordeal of Professor Regnerus

The Regnerus affair may have a chilling impact on academic freedom

By on Friday, 19 October 2012

Professor Mark Regnerus (Courtesy of Markregnerus.com)

Professor Mark Regnerus (Courtesy of Markregnerus.com)

I want to be clear, at the outset, that this is not yet another blog about Catholic teaching on the morality of homosexuality, nor is it (except indirectly) one more defence of the traditional family. It’s partly (but again indirectly) about the social effects of treating homosexual unions as though they were equivalent to marriage based on the union of one man and one woman: but again, it’s not about the morality or theology of active homosexuality.

It’s about the politics of it: it’s about the way in which the gay lobby operates. Just as most secularists are very hesitant to have a go at Islam, when they don’t think twice about mounting an attack on Christianity, so I detect a growing reluctance among Christians to risk getting on the wrong side of the gay lobby. The gay lobby doesn’t actually go in for assassination: you may not get shot or blown up: but the result can be pretty unpleasant all the same. And there is mounting evidence that this phenomenon is already having a clear effect on academic freedom.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the research of Professor Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas, who after a very large-scale survey found (publishing his findings, after the usual process of peer review, in the widely respected journal Social Science Research) that “children raised by homosexual parents are more likely than those raised by married heterosexual parents to suffer from poor impulse control, depression and suicidal thoughts” and that “They are also more likely to require more mental health therapy; identify themselves as homosexual; choose cohabitation; be unfaithful to partners; contract sexually transmitted diseases; be sexually molested; have lower income levels; drink to get drunk; and smoke tobacco and marijuana.”

I don’t want, here, to talk about these findings (I have already done that), rather I want to home in on the surrounding circumstances of their publication, for they reveal much about the ruthlessness of the gay lobby, and about the way it uses intimidation to prevent too many people with Professor Regnerus’s inclination to tell what he believes to be the truth on this subject from raising their heads above the parapet.

As for why this is a subject for a Catholic blog: Professor Regnerus is himself a Catholic and that is one of the reasons for his attack proffered by the gay blogger Scott Rose, who then made a complaint to his employers of academic misconduct, a complaint which was then promptly and thoroughly investigated by Texas University, who in the end found that Professor Regnerus had conducted his research with complete integrity. But there is a real question about that: why should a respectable university have jumped to it quite so quickly at the behest of an activist individual of this type, a person with no more status or authority than his own blog and his position in the gay activist world? The answer is that he had so successfully stirred up such vitriolic opposition to Professor Regnerus’s findings in the liberal media, that the university was actually frightened of him. So when he said “jump”, the university authorities at Austin, in the great state of Texas, jumped.

What Mark Regnerus was then put through is disquieting. Rose accused Regnerus of scientific misconduct in two letters, first charging him with deviating from “ethical standards” and later accusing him of “possible falsification” of his research. Rose claimed the study was compromised because it was funded by the conservative Witherspoon Institute and also because professor Regnerus is a Catholic, and therefore incapable of impartiality on such a subject (unlike himself, presumably).

The inquiry into their colleague’s integrity was conducted by a four-member “advisory panel” composed of senior faculty members, who (for all the world like a police force investigating fraud or paedophile offences) actually seized Regnerus’s computers and 42,000 emails. Once the inquiry was complete, the university commissioned a former associate director of the Office of Research Integrity in the US Department of Health and Human Services, to review the inquiry, which he found was “consistent with federal regulatory requirements of inquiries into research misconduct”.

So all’s well that ends well? Well, not quite. For there has now been established a precedent, which in the future those conducting academic research might well find intimidating. The moral seems to be, not so much that if you tell the truth and proceed with integrity all will be well but that if you want to be sure of avoiding that kind of gruelling ordeal, make sure you don’t choose a topic which might get you on the wrong side of the gay lobby: best just to steer clear of any such subject.

There is also the question of what a Catholic academic can now write about and research into. Earlier this week, there appeared an article in the New York Times, looking back on the Regnerus affair, tellingly entitled “Sociologist’s Paper Raises Questions on Role of Faith in Scholarship”.

“Because Dr Regnerus would not be interviewed,” says the article’s author, Mark Oppenheimer, “it is impossible to know his latest views about the relationship between his faith and research. But we can still ask if, in principle, belief in the divinity of Jesus could affect one’s social science. Put another way: “is there a Christian way to crunch numbers?”

“The answer, in my personal opinion, is no,” said Mark Chaves, a sociologist of religion at Duke Divinity School. But, he added, religious concerns “can very profoundly shape the kinds of questions we ask, and what we’re interested in, what we think is important and so on”. So while “in the narrowest sense it doesn’t affect his computations”, Dr Regnerus’s Christian faith may have drawn him to questions about same-sex relationships and family structure.

And a religious worldview, like any worldview, can dispose a researcher toward certain mistakes in thinking. Somebody critical of same-sex relationships may be more likely to group all such relationships together, as Dr Regnerus did.

Why that is a “mistake in thinking” is not explained: after all “grouping” relationships, or anything else, together is the necessary preliminary to discovering whether or not meaningful generalisations about them can be made.

“Dr Regnerus,” says Oppenheimer, “was a proud Christian witness, once upon a time. But these days he won’t discuss his faith, even with a Christian magazine. Two weeks ago, Christianity Today ran a lengthy interview with Dr Regnerus in which he said nothing about his religious beliefs. ‘I just didn’t think it was a profitable line of inquiry,’ Dr Regnerus said, in the one answer he would e-mail me. ‘I still don’t – sorry.’”

Can anyone blame him, after all he has been through? It is very sad – and disquieting – all the same.

  • wedding10

    There whole point is to intimidate and “to put the fear of gay in you” so you are scared to have a different belief or even do research which comes up with real numbers which don’t support their claims.  

  • AndreaGregorio

    In scientific and medical research we are obliged to disclose conflicts of interest under a Conflicts of Interest Statement.  The majority of journals will now not publish an article without such a statement.  This does not mean of course that the author cannot lie – indeed he may do, but if he does and is later found to have lied then the consequences will be severe.  There are many different types of conflicts of interest.  There are financial ones (people conducting research funded by interested parties such as the pharmaceutical industry, for example) and there are ideological conflicts of interest where the individual researcher is so wedded to a particular mode of thought that there is the very great danger of an intrinsic bias in the research.  Here, research may be collected which supports the ideological conviction and research may be avoided if it falsifies the ideological conviction.  This process may not always be a conscious one, actively undertaken by a therefore intellectually dishonest and unscrupulous scientist.  Cognitive psychologists and others have shown that, on the contrary, it is often unconscious.  It is for this reason that in the conduct of medical experiments for example, the research giving the ‘pill’ to a particular trial participant himself is not allowed to know whether the pill is ‘real’ or a placebo.  This is called ‘blinding’ and it has the very important function of aiming to exclude bias.

    For the reasons given above, it is very important that any individual conducting research of the type that is the subject of Dr. Oddie’s article should carry a Conflict of Interest Statement.  Here, and in the specific context of the article, this should have stated that the researcher was a practising Catholic.  This has been called for many, many times and should now be made normative.  And let us be clear, that for every piece of research which shows a positive effect of an intervention, you will be able to find one that shows a negative one, the two contradicting each other and calling for more nuanced investigation.  Then there is the precise methodology to be looked at.  Did the professor’s research look at the enormous range of social variables in researches of this type and if not then why not?  One can conduct an imperfect piece of research (in the sense that it is valid but scientifically limited) with complete integrity and be found to have done so on institutional investigation.  But the strength of the conclusions that can be drawn from that research must be treated with caution, in other words, they must bear a ‘health warning’, as it were.

    Finally, we must guard against using the ‘respectability’ of such limited research as a proxy for homophobia.  Biblical proscriptions of same sex unions and same sex activitiy are often used not because they are heartfelt, but as mechanisms to express phobia and hate hidden behind a form of ‘acceptable’ way of rejecting otherwise entirely normal variations in human expression.  It is possible to see much of such masquerading in the Church.  It is highly noteworthy that accumulating research is showing that pew Catholics really don’t have a problem with gay people and their unions.  This is progress. The continuing obsession of the Hierarchy with sexual activity is actively marginalising it in Society as a whole and leading it into frank public ridicule.  It is equally noteworthy that some of the most vociferous and phobic prelates (and Catholic writers……) are gay themselves, seeking to punish in others what they hate or cannot cope with in themselves.  This is not moral theology, it is, in fact, psychopathology.  And it must stop.  And it will stop.  And goot luck to the ‘gay lobby’ for working hard – and highly successfully – in subjecting such pathology to analysis in order to expose it for the nonsense it is.  The rise of equality in Society is inexorable.  Medieval notions of gender and sexuality are crumbling fast. At the end of the current month we will see France table the gay marriage legislation and the UK do so next year, joining Catholic Spain and Portugal (to say nothing of all the Nordic countries and Canada and The Netherlands etc etc etc) in combating medievalism with a modernity based on an enlightened understanding of human nature that goes far beyond such reductionist and outdated concepts such as the ‘Natural Order’.      

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    On the Conflict of Interest statement, it’s all very well trying to be clear about our biases or baggage, but why is an intellectual commitment to Catholicism more or less a cause of bias than  (say) being a queer theorist, or being gay, or having had a tough childhood or having a sister who is transexual etc? 

    Of course reflexivity is a good thing in social science research. But there’s a worry when it’s applied in a piecemeal way so that Catholicism is seen as a bias while the worldview that produced your above rant isn’t regarded in a similar manner. 

  • R J Mccallion

    Where is your (a) Conflict of Interest statement and (b) hard research and data, AndreaGregorio? 
    You make very clear that you either know virtually nothing about the origins of marriage (no, I am not talking about Christian marriage per se, but of the development by society in general – and many societies, across the world – of marriage, and possibly even less of equality, beyond sloganeering. Look up ‘simulacrum’ before you come up with such tosh in future – you will make yourself look less daft if you do.One other thing, you may be able to help with from your experience. Why are so many people of your apparent political and social persuasion spending so much time seeking to conceal the reality of the sexual abuse that has afflicted the Church – that it is overwhelmingly pederastic and homosexual in nature? Your assistance in understanding the reasoning behind the ongoing attempts to sweep that reality under the carpet would be greatly appreciated.

  • R J Mccallion

    Spot on, Lazarus.

  • Jonathan West

    It looks to me as if you describe as “intimidation” any criticism of research whose results happen to agree with your own preconceptions.

    This is in fact a very ordinary scientific controversy. We have some results in a paper which might or might not turn out to be true.

    There are a whole range of reasons why they might turn out not to be true, including

    - inadequate randomisation of the sample
    - inadequate size of the sample to give statistical significance to the results
    - inadequate matching of the control group used for comparison
    - errors in the statistical calculation of the results
    - incorrect or unsupported deduction or causation from correlation
    - statistical freaks (even if your results are statistically significant to a p-value of 0.05, this means that there is a 1-in-20 chance that your results are the result of random variations and not correlated with the influence you are testing for)
    - unconscious bias on the part of the researcher
    - deliberate research fraud

    It is quite normal for research to get challenged. After all, the whole purpose is to be able to find things out, to be able to answer the question “How can we tell that what we think is true really is true?”

    Scientists are of course human. Although they accept as an ideal that they should welcome a challenge to their ideas, theories and findings, the fact is that scientists do sometimes get proprietary about their research and it can happen that debates can get a bit ugly. That is made worse when non-scientists who have no idea how the science is actually conducted, and are not competent to review the evidence on its merits get stuck into the debate on the basis of a preference for one or other scientific authority-figure.

    Because you are unfamiliar with scientific methods and processes, and because you are only interested in research that has religious implications, you see what is in fact a perfectly normal research controversy as a sinister attempt to suppress unwanted results.

    It’s about time you stopped seeing conspiracies everywhere.

  • Josephmatte

    The effective persecution of Dr Regnerus reminds us that objectivity in this field is becoming increasingly difficult. A past President of the American Psychological Association has admitted that the APA has effectively become a gay rights organization. There is surely a conflict of interest here.

  • paulpriest

     Jonathan – that’s sheer baloney – if it had been opposition, hostility or an all-out internecine war and campaign to ridicule, refute or suppress Professor Regnerus’s work…

    …FROM HIS PEERS…

    …then it would have been understandable and have fitted into your paradigm.

    Had there been major opposition from influential political lobby groups or quangos or major charities trying to exert pressure or withdrawing funding or even resorting to bribery, intimidation, veiled threats or blackmail?
    That too would have been understandable..we’ve all encountered it and understand how the system works…

    But we’re talking about one mouthy blogger and activist who has launched all manner of false and libellous accusations…

    It’s not how it was challenged – it’s the why!

  • karlf

     Bias doesn’t come into it. Catholics have no choice in the matter as they are obligated to follow the dogma of the Church. But I think the general bias in the secular world to be in favour of gay ‘marriage’ comes from a fear of appearing to be nasty.

  • Jonathan West

    What matters is whether the evidence stands up to scrutiny. And quite frankly, neither you nor I nor Mr Oddie is in the least bit qualiified to judge or pronounce on that point, and therefore any opinions we may have on the subject are worthless.

    That is why I haven’t made any comment on the quality of the research.

    If you’re going to talk about why, then exactly the same argument needs to be applied to why you & Mr Oddie might want to defend the research as to why you think others might want to attack it.

    My point is that ideas, particularly scientific ideas, ought to be attacked and challenged, and that a scientific challenge to the ideas ought to be welcomed.

    If I wanted to, I could get hold of a copy of Mark Regnerus’ paper, make sure I was up to speed on the relevant research methodologies and statistical techniques, and critque his paper. I haven’t, because I’m not all that interested in the subject, I have other things to do with my time, and others can do it more effectively without my help.

    You could do that as well. An opinion is only worth something if it is an informed opinion, but you are capable of learning enough to inform yourself.

    Anybody not sufficiently informed to be able to evaluate the evidence would be better keeping out of the argument, whichever direction they are coming from.

  • paulpriest

     Nice try – but you’re re-arguing a point I never made about a position I never stated about an allegiance I never even suggested….

    If you’d read my comment on Dr Oddie’s first thread I was the one who argued that there could be all manner of socio-cultural reasons for such conclusions within the case study…but nevertheless these were irrelevant to the fundamental moral position of opposing those who wish to abolish marriage and replace it with a uiversalised form of Civil Partnership ‘rebranded as marriage while real marriage is consigned to oblivion’

    I argued that we weren’t utilitarians and even if same-sex marriage wrought socio-economic or personal benefits for the children it would still fragment, compromise and jeopardise everything for which marriage and the family stands….

    The consequences might complement an argument – but they are no grounds for arguing it…

    My point was that a lone loudmouth blogger-activist lambasted Prof Regnerus with a barrage of unfounded accusations and indictments of malpractice and academic incompetence…

    ..and the powers-that-be – terrified of being deemed homophobic or being ‘off-message’ among the liberal elite – acted with an expediency of a criminal investigation – for all intents and purposes forcing Prof Regnerus to be treated as if he were guilty as charged…

    Now if you are going to reply I suggest you argue against what I have said ; not what you wanted me to say.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    The writer of the above article, William Oddie, is very selectively deciding what to present to the public, in support of his own lies about what happened.  Regnerus and his funders continue to deliberately mislead the public by falsely alleging that Regnerus’s funders were not involved with his study design or conducting his study in any way.  In truth, they were.  Regnerus’s chief funding agency is The Witherspoon Institute.  The study was initiated by Witherspoon in 2010. Brad Wilcox was the Director of Witherspoon’s Program for Marriage, Family and Democracy.  Wilcox recruited Regnerus to do the study.  Witherspoon then gave Regnerus a $55,000 planning grant.  With the grant, Wilcox collaborated with Regnerus on the study design.  Then, after their design was approved, Witherspoon arranged for Regnerus to have his full study funding of $785,000.  Yet, Regnerus and Witherspoon both are telling the public that no funding agency representative was involved in study design.  That clearly is untrue, i.e. it is a lie.  When Wilcox recruited Regnerus for the study, and also when he collaborated with him on study design, he was Director of Witherspoon’s Program for Marriage, Family and Democracy.  Wilcox therefore clearly was a “funding agency representative.”  No honest researcher, and no honest research funder, would lie to the public in these ways.  And that is the tip of the iceberg of Regnerus’s and Witherspoon’s deliberate deceptions vis-a-vis the study.  The study design itself was deliberately booby-trapped, something immediately noticed throughout the academy. A group of 8 major professional organizations including the American Medical Association filed an amicus brief in the Golinski-DOMA case that analyzes Regnerus’s methodology as being scientifically unsound.  Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Nathaniel Frank said that Regnerus “fails the most basic requirement of social science research — assessing causation by holding all other variables constant.”  Along with over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s, the President of the American Sociological Association, Dr. Erik Olin Wright, has signed a letter calling Regnerus’s groupings “absurd” and expressing concern about the corrupt process through which the paper was published.  Dr. Michael Schwartz, Chair of the Department of Sociology at Stony Brook University is calling for the Regnerus paper to be retracted from publication and for the journal editor James Wright to be removed for editorial misconduct in relation to the publication of the paper.  Dr. Andrew Perrin, sociologist with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says this about the quality of the Regnerus paper: “I think the study is so thoroughly flawed, in particular with respect to its categorization of ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian,’ that no conclusions can be drawn with sufficient confidence to report, publicize, or use them.”  Dr. Perrin says this about Regnerus’s and Witherspoon’s public lying about the study: “Regnerus’s claim that the funders were not involved in the study design is clearly not true given Wilcox’s status.”  Dr. Philip Cohen, sociologist at the University of Maryland, says this: “Yes, it seems clear that Regnerus lied, and that Wilcox acted unethically by acting as a reviewer, program officer and consultant.”

  • nardialop

    Have you ever notice that the evolution theory and the relativity theory are called “theory” while they are widely accepted in the secular world as facts? This is because those theories are still subject to discussion, experimentation, and research, and although they are widely accepted now the can be modified, expanded or rejected in the future. This means that, although widely accepted, they are still been discussed by the scientific community.  This discussion is carried out only by researchers at universities and scientific institutes and they are publish by scientific journals and discussed in scientific conferences and workshops. Nobody ask if a researcher belongs to an Evangelist Church (some ot them rejects the evolution theory) or Catholic, or atheist or capitalist or whatever. These are the normal channels of the scientific discussion.

    The evidence of political or ideological persecution arises when this research is fought in the media by non-researchers, when character assassination is also carried out in the media, when they try to destroy the researcher reputation and job, when the researcher receives dead treats … In this case the objective is not only to destroy the researcher, the main objective is to intimidate the rest of the scientific community to abandon their research when their results contradicts any strong political or ideological lobby. But the nature of the scientific research is like the fungus, when you believe that you have exterminated it, it will appear with renovated strength. If not in the near future in 100 years.

  • JabbaPapa

    What a load of pole-dancing RUBBISH !!!

    You’re just trying to justify both your a priori preconceptions and your a posteriori discomfit as if the one were the justification for the other.

  • JabbaPapa

    That is why I haven’t made any comment on the quality of the research.

    In fact, you characterised interpretation of the research as involving “preconceptions”.

    It is self-evident from the contents of your reactions to this article that these responses are ideologically motivated.

  • Josephmatte

    Well Scott Rose. I think you lost this one. Regnerus may have been hounded but he is quietly becoming a hero in some not so conservative circles. We would be grateful if you let us know of other researchers you disagree with.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    The “liberal” homo-fascists at work again? What a surprise.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    This tirade (itself further evidence of Dr Oddie’s point) confuses a number of different issues:

    1) Whether there was something dishonest in the process of the research.
    2) Whether the research was well designed.
    3) What conclusions may be reasonably drawn from the research.

    1) seems to have been disposed of by the University of Texas enquiry: all that remains is defamatory tittle tattle.

    2) is a matter for scholarly debate. (That’s debate rather than writing petitions.) A more sober assessment than the above is found at http://www.peter-ould.net/?s=regnerus where it is suggested that the paper is a welcome first step but that (as Regnerus himself concedes) more research needs to be done.

    3) again is a matter for scholarly debate. But it’s well worth reading sections 1.1 and 1.2 of the paper for an analysis of the deficiencies of previous research. Why is Regnerus being castigated for at least trying to get to grips with large scale evidence in this field, where previous studies have often amounted to little more than asking people in a lesbian coffee shop whether or not they were good parents? Eg: 

    (Section 1.1:) ‘One notable example of this is the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, analyses of which were prominently featured in the media in 2011… The NLLFS employs a convenience sample, recruited entirely by self-selection from announcements posted “at lesbian events, in women’s bookstores, and in lesbian newspapers” in Boston, Washington, and San Francisco.’ 

    If this were any other area, Regnerus would be applauded for trying to bring some rigour into a field that’s dominated by wishful thinking. Of course he might be wrong. That’s the nature of science. But it’s one thing to suggest the study or the conclusions are flawed (and then to try to conduct further research which remedies these defects), and quite another to suggest it’s deliberately distorted.

    For me, one of the most telling observations is in section 4. Having noted that there is clear research evidence that intact biological parents provide the best outcomes for children, Regnerus comments:

     ‘In short, if same-sex parents are able to raise children with no differences…it would mean that same-sex couples are able to do something that heterosexual couples in step-parenting, adoptive, and cohabiting contexts have themselves not been able to do—replicate the optimal childrearing environment of married, biological-parent homes.’

    In other words, we know non-natural parenting doesn’t work well in heterosexual contexts, so what possible reason could there be for expecting it to work better in homosexual situations?

  • JabbaPapa

    Finally, we must guard against using the ‘respectability’ of such
    limited research as a proxy for homophobia.  Biblical proscriptions of
    same sex unions and same sex activitiy are often used not because they
    are heartfelt, but as mechanisms to express phobia and hate hidden
    behind a form of ‘acceptable’ way of rejecting otherwise entirely normal
    variations in human expression.  It is possible to see much of such
    masquerading in the Church.  It is highly noteworthy that accumulating
    research is showing that pew Catholics really don’t have a problem with
    gay people and their unions.  This is progress. The continuing obsession
    of the Hierarchy with sexual activity is actively marginalising it in
    Society as a whole and leading it into frank public ridicule.  It is
    equally noteworthy that some of the most vociferous and phobic prelates
    (and Catholic writers……) are gay themselves, seeking to punish in
    others what they hate or cannot cope with in themselves.  This is not
    moral theology, it is, in fact, psychopathology.  And it must stop.  And
    it will stop.  And goot luck to the ‘gay lobby’ for working hard – and
    highly successfully – in subjecting such pathology to analysis in order
    to expose it for the nonsense it is.  The rise of equality in Society is
    inexorable.  Medieval notions of gender and sexuality are crumbling
    fast. At the end of the current month we will see France table the gay
    marriage legislation and the UK do so next year, joining Catholic Spain
    and Portugal (to say nothing of all the Nordic countries and Canada and
    The Netherlands etc etc etc) in combating medievalism with a modernity
    based on an enlightened understanding of human nature that goes far
    beyond such reductionist and outdated concepts such as the ‘Natural
    Order’.     

    Sorry, but this is rubbish — of the rather OFFENSIVE vartiety — from A to Z.

    Finally, we must guard against using the ‘respectability’ of such
    limited research as a proxy for homophobia.

    Evidence that people are doing so ??

    This is just some personal opinion trumped up as if it constituted “fact”.

    Biblical proscriptions of
    same sex unions and same sex activitiy are often used not because they
    are heartfelt, but as mechanisms to express phobia and hate hidden
    behind a form of ‘acceptable’ way of rejecting otherwise entirely normal
    variations in human expression.

    Are you a relativist ?

    LOL

    PROVE IT !!!

    1) PROVE that these “unions” and activities are “normal” (Oh, and while you’re at it, please define “normal”)

    2) PROVE that anyone opposed to same-sex “marriage” is subjected to the psychological disorder of “phobia”

    3) or “hate”, for that matter

    4) Please DEMONSTRATE that you are entirely innocent of homosexualist bigotry on your own part

    It is highly noteworthy that accumulating
    research is showing that pew Catholics really don’t have a problem with
    gay people and their unions.  This is progress.

    Oh no it bloody well isn’t you nincom-word !!!

    Catholicism does NOT teach hatred of homosexuals.

    The continuing obsession
    of the Hierarchy with sexual activity is actively marginalising it in
    Society as a whole and leading it into frank public ridicule.

    What a load of partisan, a priori b-word !!!

    Marriage involves one (unmarried) man and one (unmarried) woman, and their naturally born children.

    It is not defined by sexual desire.

    Also, if you can’t see that the homosexualist position is in a state of public ridicule, then you’re blind

    It is
    equally noteworthy that some of the most vociferous and phobic prelates
    (and Catholic writers……) are gay themselves, seeking to punish in
    others what they hate or cannot cope with in themselves.  This is not
    moral theology, it is, in fact, psychopathology.

    More b-word — oh, and BTW I take note of your willingness to contradict yourself !!!

    You cannot simultaneously claim that homosexuals are being persecuted, and then claim that those doing so are homosexuals !!!

    (unless the “psychopathology” you refer to is homosexuality itself ????)

    And it must stop.  And
    it will stop.

    Marriage is between one man and one woman, God, and their children.

    And no, this will not stop being the reality of it just because some scumbag corrupt politicians are seeking a few extra votes.

    And goot luck to the ‘gay lobby’ for working hard – and
    highly successfully – in subjecting such pathology to analysis in order
    to expose it for the nonsense it is.

    No, they just want to force people to approve of their psychotic lifestyles.

    The rise of equality in Society is
    inexorable.

    It’s a long time since I’ve read such a ludicrously naïve statement.

    These people already possess equality — what they actually seek is the destruction of the religious definition of marriage.

    Not because it’s wrong — but because they hate Christianity, and wish to see it destroyed.

    Medieval notions of gender and sexuality are crumbling
    fast.

    Oh good GRIEF !!!!

    In FACT, men and women are DIFFERENT to each other.

    If anything is going to crumble, it will be your own irrationally informed dogmata.

    Human nature is not defined by a majority vote of people whose minds have been deformed by a string of neverending political propaganda.

    At the end of the day — people get angry. And we say NO !!!!!

  • JabbaPapa

    Catholics have no choice in the matter as they are obligated to follow the dogma of the Church.

    RUBBISH ! RUBBISH !! RUBBISH !!!

    Your understanding of how religions work continues to be both ignorant and irrational.

  • Sam Black

    I am a researcher, and my funding agency sometimes
    tries to direct our efforts, to a greater or lesser extent. A result cannot be
    presupposed, but a study can be directed. What is most important here is not
    where the money came from, but how the research was carried out. Whether the
    data gathered is accurate, and whether the conclusions drawn from the same are
    reasonable. I know all too well that there can be a level of subjectivity in a
    study’s conclusions and every effort must be made to justify them. It is
    logical that if the data is accurate and the conclusions are thus justifiable,
    then the research teaches us something. I fear that Mr Rose and certain sectors of society
    are closed to being taught by these findings…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    The University of Texas has a conflict of interest, as it is a co-investor in Regnerus’s “New Family Structures Study.”  UT’s self-serving proclamations regarding the NFSS are invalid.  The public should note that UT is simultaneously embroiled in another matter involving serious non-disclosure issues. Its professor Charles Groat produced a study that concluded that fracking waste water is non-toxic. A watchdog group then discovered that Groat is on the board of  a fracking industry company and holds over $1 million of its stock.  At first, UT continued to support Groat.  Only upon additional pressure from outside watchdogs did UT agree to “review” Groat’s study; something that has not yet actually taken place. Obviously, UT did not act with integrity when it tried to sweep the Groat non-disclosure under the carpet. UT is not acting with integrity in the Regnerus scandal, either. Indeed, in asking the Texas Attorney General for exceptions to Public Information Act requests, UT has defined itself as a co-investor.  Moreover, in some of those letters to the Attorney General, Regnerus has described Witherspoon’s Wilcox as having been involved in data collection and data analysis.  Norms of scientific ethics were violated when those conflicts of interest were not disclosed to the public upon publication. It is an even worse offense that Wilcox, besides have been Witherspoon’s Program Director at the time he collaborated with Regnerus on study design, is also on the editorial board of the journal that published Regnerus. The disclosures of conflicts of interest that should have been made, but that were not made, are normal, and should have been made, no matter the quality of the study design or any other aspect of the work product.  Repeating the profoundly dishonest Regnerus’s canards from his study would not get you anywhere, if you were under oath in a court of law.  Attacking prior studies only because the are based on convenience and/or snowball samples misrepresents science to the public.  Sociologists use many different tools; all of these tools can provide useful information, if the studies are valid of their type.  The NLLFS is valid of its type.  The Regnerus study is not.  None of Regnerus’s data is trustworthy.  For example, he asked respondents “Have you ever masturbated?”  He gave respondents the opportunity to decline to answer that question; 110 clicked on a box indicating that they were declining to answer the question.  But, out of 2,988 respondents aged 18 to 39, Regnerus reports that 620 said that no, they have never once in their lives masturbated.  That “finding” is obviously false.  What’s worse, Regnerus alleges that his study is generalizable to the entire population of the United States, i.e. he claims that out of ever 2,988 Americans aged 18 to 39, 620 have never once in their lives masturbated.  This is a junk “finding,” which provides guidance on how credible the rest of Regnerus’s “findings” may be, even more so in light of the documented, very serious non-disclosure issues and the peer review corrupted by Regnerus’s funders, who are known to have anti-gay-rights political goals with the study and who are exploiting the study in anti-gay-rights political contexts.  It is really not that remarkable that Catholics would ignore the injunction not to bear false witness against their neighbors.  After all, the Vatican had a power sharing agreement with Mussolini. He gave them independent nation status, in exchange, they aggressively cooperated with his fascistic government.  All Italian schools had mandatory daily lessons in Catholicism.  WWII-era homosexuals were very aggressively demonized by both Mussolini and the Vatican.  (The Pope wished Adolph Hitler a happy birthday every year he was in power).  The Vatican was complicit in getting Italian homosexuals deported to concentration camps to be tortured and killed.  At the site of the former concentration camp near Trieste, today there is a memorial to gay Holocaust victims; yet, the Church specifically and Catholic generally have never acknowledged the Church’s complicity in demonizing gays and getting them deported to concentration camps.  Additionally, at the end of the war, Vatican officials received assets stolen from Holocaust victims, from Nazi war criminals as payment for helping the Nazis to evade justice through the ratlines to South America.  It is a crime to accept stolen goods.  No Pope has ever allowed independent investigators to inventory the goods in the Vatican that were stolen from Holocaust victims, so they could be returned either to their rightful owners or to the owners’ descendants.  That is to say, Church leaders remain guilty of retaining assets stolen from Holocaust victims in payment for assisting Nazi war criminals to evade justice.  Given that history, why would anybody expect Catholics to behave honorably vis-a-vis a corrupt “study” about gay parents’ child outcomes?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    The formal scientific definition of theory is quite different from the everyday meaning of the word. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence. Many scientific theories are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them substantially. For example, no new evidence will demonstrate that the Earth does not orbit around the sun (heliocentric theory), or that living things are not made of cells (cell theory), that matter is not composed of atoms, or that the surface of the Earth is not divided into solid plates that have moved over geological timescales (the theory of plate tectonics)…One of the most useful properties of scientific theories is that they can be used to make predictions about natural events or phenomena that have not yet been observed.
    A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not “guesses” but reliable accounts of the real world. The theory of biological evolution is more than “just a theory.” It is as factual an explanation of the universe as the atomic theory of matter or the germ theory of disease. Our understanding of gravity is still a work in progress. But the phenomenon of gravity, like evolution, is an accepted fact

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    I am an easy target for gay-bashing bigots in this, because people presume, wrongly, that I have no knowledge of science.  Normal disclosures of conflicts of interest were not made upon publication of the Regnerus submission.  As a researcher, you should know that such disclosures should be made, no matter the quality of the research.  Moreover, examine who has analyzed the Regnerus study as being scientifically unsound.  Among them are 8 major professional organizations including the American Medical Association.  Instead of saying that “Mr. Rose and certain sectors of society are closed to being taught by these findings,” you should say “The American Medical Association is closed to being taught by these findings.” And then, you should repeat that sentence, for each of the 7 organizations that co-filed the amicus brief with the AMA, analyzing Regnerus’s methodology as scientifically unsound.  “The American Psychological Association is closed to being taught by these findings.” “The California Psychological Association is closed to being taught by these findings.” “The American Psychiatric Association is closed to being taught by these findings.” “The National Association of Social Workers is closed to being taught by these findings.” “The American Academy of Pediatrics is closed to being taught by these findings.” “The American Psychoanalytic Association is closed to being taught by these findings.”  Go explain to all of those professional associations what you think they should be “taught” by “these findings.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    Your question suggests that the facts of this case are a matter of opinion, when in fact, they are not. Both Regnerus and his funders continue to falsely allege that the funders were not involved in study design.  They were.  Regnerus’s chief funder is The Witherspoon Institute. In 2010, Brad Wilcox, Director of Witherspoon’s Program for Marriage, Family and Democracy recruited Regnerus to do the study. Witherspoon then gave Regnerus a $55,000 planning grant.  In his capacity as Witherspoon Program Director, Wilcox collaborated with Regnerus on study design.  Witherspoon then approved Regnerus for full study funding. Despite irrefutable documentation of those facts, both Regnerus and Witherspoon continue lying to the public, by saying that no funding agency representatives were consulted on study design.  Public lying about a supposed scientific study is dishonorable.  Understanding that lying is taking place is not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing with researchers.  Regnerus’s and Witherspoon’s lies are documented.  I would welcome them taking me to court on this statement, with discovery occurring and a jury being presented with the evidence.  They are lying.  They are deliberately misleading the public about research.  I have done nothing to mislead the public.  Regnerus is a “hero” to nobody.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    Nothing could be more absurd than to say that the American Psychological Association has “effectively become” a gay rights organization. The APA works in the full spectrum of the field of psychology.  Here is language from the APA’s “ABOUT” page:

    The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA is the world’s largest association of psychologists, with more than 137,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students as its members.
    Our mission is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.
    Our WorkAPA seeks to advance psychology as a science, a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare. We do this by:Encouraging the development and application of psychology in the broadest mannerPromoting research in psychology, the improvement of research methods and conditions and the application of research findingsImproving the qualifications and usefulness of psychologists by establishing high standards of ethics, conduct, education and achievementIncreasing and disseminating psychological knowledge through meetings, professional contacts, reports, papers, discussions and publications

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    Strategic Plan
    Our strategic plan goals are to maximize the association’s organizational effectiveness, expand psychology’s role in advancing health and increase recognition of psychology as a science.
    Strategic plan
    Governance and Senior Staff
    Volunteer governance members play a key role in the direction and completion of APA’s advocacy, publishing, member service and more. These groups include APA’s:Council of Representatives, which has the sole authority to approve policy and appropriate the association’s revenue.
    Board of Directors, elected by the membership, and which acts as the administrative agent of the Council of Representatives.
    APA president, elected annually by the membership to serve as the face of the association.
    Committees, boards and task forces, which focus on particular issues in the field.APA’s daily operations are overseen by its senior staff at APA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
    Definition of “Psychology”
    Psychology is a diverse discipline, grounded in science, but with nearly boundless applications in everyday life.  Some psychologists do basic research, developing theories and testing them through carefully honed research methods involving observation, experimentation and analysis. Other psychologists apply the discipline’s scientific knowledge to help people, organizations and communities function better.As psychological research yields new information, whether it’s developing improved interventions to treat depression or studying how humans interact with machines, these findings become part of the discipline’s body of knowledge and are applied in work with patients and clients, in schools, in corporate settings, within the judicial system, even in professional sports.Psychology is a doctoral-level profession. Psychologists study both normal and abnormal functioning and treat patients with mental and emotional problems. They also study and encourage behaviors that build wellness and emotional resilience. Today, as the link between mind and body is well-recognized, more and more psychologists are teaming with other health-care providers to provide whole-person health care for patients. 

  • nardialop

    I am a researcher and I know what theory means in the scientific community. You can say correctly that “It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence.” However, especially in this area how do you know that the “evidence” in not tainted? How do you know that the we are not going to have better research methods, or technology, in the future?   How do you know that the results are not ideologically motivated? How do you know that only one theory explains the phenomena? To answer these questions is the purpose of the scientific discussion through papers and conferences.

    You are right in that “Many scientific theories are so well established that no new evidence is LIKELY to alter them substantially.” However, there is always the possibility, as you also stated (likely), that a theory will be rejected in the future. As I say evolution and relativity are widely accepted theories, however things may change (with respect to the Relativity theory, have you hear of the String theory?). I did not mention gravity.

    But those were only examples, you can change the theories, it is ok with me. What I am underlying is the difference between the legitimate scientific discussion of data and theories and the ideologically motivated scientific persecution.  Your arguments fit with an ideological persecution.

  • Josephmatte

    Dr Nicholas Cummings, former President of the APA, has recently stated that the APA has been taken over by ultraliberals beholden to the gay rights movement: ” Cherry-picking results became the mode. The gay rights movement sort of captured the APA.”

  • James

    Wrong. He’s a hero to me.

  • James

    The gay lobby forms part of the modern Inquisition.

    Unlike the Catholic Inquisition’s of the past, it cannot hand over people who have committed heresy to the secular authorities to be executed.

    It can however, hand over people who have committed thought crimes to the secular authorities, where they can be prosecuted through the courts and lose their jobs and professional reputations.

    No matter that Professor Regnerus’ findings were valid, some truths in this secular age dare not speak their name.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    My “arguments” include that 1) conflicts of interest were not disclosed with publication of the Regnerus paper; and 2) Regnerus did not assemble an appropriate comparison group for his study.  Disclosing conflicts of interest is essential.  And, in the type of study Regnerus alleges he wanted to do, assembling an appropriate comparison group also is essential.  You should consult a competent therapist if Sociology 101 and Research Ethics 101 seem like “ideological persecution” to you.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Your interest isn’t science, is it? 

    It’s to banish from the public sphere any heretic who challenges your view that homosexuality is anything other than clean, normal, morally good etc etc. 

    We all see through it. You people cry “Wolf!” so often that it’s become a weary joke. 

  • James H

    So, the fact that the funders *might* have been involved in study design makes the study invalid how, exactly?

    The big lie here is that children raised by gay couples suffer no adverse side-effects. That’s the whopper in this case. It’s not rocket science. Quibbles about research funding, even if valid, don’t change facts, and it’s the facts that you are so desperate to cover up, raising this non-issue as if it’s crucial.

    You might have a sympathetic judiciary and media on your side, but the truth has a nasty habit of coming out (pun intended).

  • nardialop

    Wow!

    I do not think he had to disclose anything, and anyway, non-disclosing “conflicts of interest” do not mean that the data or the results are incorrect. This is only a diversion for character assassination.

    With respect to point point 2 you are repeating a talking point designed to question his scientific competency (character assassination).

    The correct approach is to let the scientific community to discuss this topic freely. Eventually, they will reach to a widely accepted conclusion.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Rant, rant, rant. And with no use of paragraphs.

  • James

    You’re a joke.

    You are so prejudiced that nothing you say on the subject of either Catholicism or same-sex parenting can be taken seriously.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    You offer no specifics related to Regnerus’s hoax; you offer only paranoia.  To look at a specific, Regnerus alleges to have found that 23% of respondents with “lesbian mothers” suffered childhood sexual victimization. However, his survey question asked whether “a parent or other adult caregiver” had sexually victimized the respondent as a child.  The “finding” thus is un-interpretable, and tells us nothing about how to help prevent sexual victimization of children.  The alleged sexual abuse of Regnerus’s respondents could have been carried out by the divorced heterosexual parent, or a priest, or a babysitter; there is no telling.  Despite that, in their public statements about the study, Regnerus and his funders tie the alleged abuse solely to “gay parents.”  This is not a “valid” finding, and Regnerus’s means of communicating about it to the public violate the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics for Public Communications.  What this “finding” constitutes, actually, is bearing false witness against one’s neighbors.  I guess that doesn’t violate Catholic morality.  

  • Josephmatte

    Well Scott Rose. You really do not much care for us Catholics by the sound of it. An acute case of “Romophobia” perhaps? For your edification, please read ” The Myth of Hitler’s Pope” by Rabbi Dalin.It would really help you understand why so many Jewish people had such love for Pius XII until there was a Communist plot in the sixties to discredit him. You see, we live in an age when truth is regarded lightly.Psychological studies whether on abortion or homosexuality are often motivated by the desire to “get on” with peers.There is little love of truth.

  • Jeannine

    You have made some good points about disclosure. Did the other studies that asserted no difference between homesexual & heteosexual parenting also make disclosures?

  • karlf

    Why’s it rubbish, rubbish, rubbish Jabba? Please explain.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    Actually, science publishing ethics are clear; conflicts of interest should be disclosed.  They were not in this case. It is true that the scientific validity of the study is a separate issue.  No authority without a conflict of interest in evaluating the scientific validity of the study has deemed the study scientifically valid.  You allege a “big lie” but present no evidence that there is any “big lie.”  You are claiming — even apart from what Regnerus says in his study — that “children raised by gay couples suffer adverse side-effects.”  A “side-effect” would not be a normal sociological term for discussing child outcomes. Joe Valentine was raised since birth in 1979 by his lesbian mothers, is a professional baseball player and maintains loving relationships with his family.  If you were under oath in a court of law, you would not succeed in alleging that Joe Valentine suffered “adverse side-effects” from being raised since birth by a lesbian couple.  Your vulgarity in making a sexual pun when writing about a sociological study emphasizes your lack of serious-mindedness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    Actually, deliberate non-disclosure of conflicts of interest, combined — as is the case with the Regnerus study — with deliberate public lying about the conflicts of interest, speaks directly to character, with no “assassination” needed, as the bad character is evidenced directly in the behavior.  It is true that the normal procedure with research is to engage in scientific debate, where there are legitimate grounds for scientific debate, but that is not the case with Regnerus’s “research.”  It is akin to the tobacco industry’s ‘studies” in the 60s and 70s “proving” that smoking tobacco was not harmful to health.  Those fraudulent studies, like the Regnerus study, undermine the trust on which science is based. Science depends on replicating studies and getting the same result. The Regnerus study could only be replicated and produce the same results through use of the same absurd and invalid methodology combined with peer review corrupted by the funders.  The status quo ante remains true; there is no evidence that sexual orientation, per se, impacts parenting.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    The historical record will not be denied.  The Vatican had a power sharing agreement with Mussolini.  The Church and Mussolini baselessly demonized homosexuals and got them deported to concentration camps.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    To judge by your comment, your hypothesis is that homosexuality is “dirty, abnormal and morally bad.”  Science has thoroughly tested and disproven your hypothesis.  You are engaging in ignorance-and-bullying-non-acceptance-based demonization of gay people, much as the Church and Mussolini did in the WWII era before getting Italian homosexuals deported to concentration camps.  Furthermore, science alone can not determine civil rights. We know empirically, for example, that a majority of adult pedophiles are males in heterosexual marriages, yet we do not seek to make, or make laws preventing all heterosexual men from entering into heterosexual marriages.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    Catholic dogma on human sexuality is anti-scientific in every respect.  The Catholic Catechism, for instance, calls masturbation “masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.”  Science knows better than that.  No sane person would attempt to demonize people for masturbating.  

  • Josephmatte

    My goodness. I now know how Dr Regnerus must be feeling. And I have only had 2 hours of Scott Roast. But, in the interest of dialogue, We share a horror of Nazism : of Ernst Roehm, Gerhard Rossbach and his Storm Troopers. As for Pius XII, please read what Einstein, Pinchas Lapide and The New York Times in the 1940′s had to say- not the liberal fascists of today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    The smuggling and hiding of Croatian war criminals was part of the extensive network known as the Rat Lines. Senior officials at the Vatican were involved in hiding and smuggling Nazi war criminals and their collaborators so they would not be arrested and tried. Hundreds of war criminals were provided with church and Red Cross papers that enabled them to hide in safe houses and then flee from Europe, mainly to the Middle East and South America. Among them were Klaus Barbie (“the butcher of Lyon”), Adolf Eichmann, Dr. Josef Mengele and Franz Stengel, the commander of the Treblinka death camp.
    The Vatican network was also used by leaders of the Ustashe – the nationalist Croatian Catholic movement that was active in Croatia and collaborated with the Nazi occupation. “The Reverend Dr. Prof. Krunoslav Draganovic seemed to be in cooperation with the Ustasha network. And he was given a Vatican assignment as the apostolic visitator for Croatians, which meant he reported directly to Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini,” states an American document based on a report from the Italian police; the document was recently placed in evidence at the court in San Francisco where Gowen testified.
    The leaders of the Ustashe headed by Pavelic are the ones who stole the victims’ property: art and jewelry – silver and mostly gold. After the war they fled with the treasure and laundered it with the help of Vatican institutions.

  • nardialop

    Wow!!

    Have you replicated his study? Do you have evidence of the corruption “funders”? Do you have evidence of the corruption of the reviewers? Do you have evidence of lying? Do you have proof that the methodology is absurd?  Do you have any evidence or you are only repeating what you read in the pro-homosexual publications?  Do the status quo remains because you says so?

    Your tobacco example reaffirms what I said. Eventually a widely accepted theory will arise because “the nature of the scientific research is similar to the fungus, when you
    believe that you have exterminated it, it will appear with renovated
    strength. If not in the near future in 100 years.” 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rose/655434671 Scott Rose

    Yes, there is documentation for everything I say.  For example, Witherspoon created a stand-alone site to promote the study, where it claims that Witherspoon was not involved in study design. Regnerus in his published study, and again in his published “Additional Analyses” makes the false claim that no funding agency representatives were consulted on study design. It is now documented, however, that Brad Wilcox, Witherspoon’s Director of the Program for Marriage, Family and Democracy collaborated with Regnerus on study design in 2010.  The funders and Regnerus are both lying about this point.  You can stick your fingers in your ears and sing “la la la” all you want; if the evidence for this were presented in a court of law, Regnerus and his funders would lose in the face of the documentation of their lies.