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Jul 28 2012

Well, isn’t that embarrassing

Five days ago, an op-ed in support of the fatally flawed Regnerus “gay parenting” study appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Breathlessly describing the response to the misleading study as “an academic auto-da-fe”, “inquisition”, “witch hunt”, and a “savaging” by “the progressive orthodoxy”, who are treating him like a “heretic” and “traitor” and “cannot admit their true political motives”, they spend almost no time addressing the actual criticisms of the study, such as its unhelpful and inaccurate definition of “gay parents” and small sample sizes of actual same-sex parents. Their best defense is that the study “is no scientifically worse than what is routinely published in sociology journals.” Is that really the case?

Apparently not. The op-ed now appears even more vacuous and absurd in retrospect. Two days ago, the Chronicle received a draft of an internal audit to be published in the same journal as the Regnerus study, detailing how the peer review process “failed to identify significant, disqualifying problems” and was compromised by “conflicts of interest among the reviewers”. A professor on the editorial board who was assigned to examine how this happened described the paper as “bullshit”, and identified Regnerus’ definition of “gay parents” as something that should have “disqualified it immediately”.

The lesson couldn’t be clearer: When the facts aren’t on your side, you’ll end up looking rather silly.

5 comments

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  1. 1
    Former Senator Larry Craig

    I haven’t seen a paper copy of the Chronicle in years but J. Zeus, doesn’t anyone edit their website content?

    I won’t even comment on the risibility of a Notre Dame professor whose current research is almost all about religion railing against “orthodoxy”.

  2. 2
    smhll

    More proof that it’s really hard to get people to be fair. (People really piss me off sometimes.)

    Also, when there is great written content in some corners of the internet (waves around), it’s sad that dense and inaccurate and distorted content gets posted around, as that can lead to the general dismissal of blogs as being shitty.

  3. 3
    Ophelia Benson

    Yikes. I thought the CHE was better than that.

  4. 4
    John Horstman

    Doesn’t embarrassment require self-awareness and a sensitivity to how others perceive one? It probably should be embarrassing, but it may well not be. Anyway, this is awesome.

  5. 5
    where can i get hair chalk

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