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.