More bad faith-based science

Perhaps you missed it, but there was recently a paper claiming that gay parents were a perilous proposition. No surprises, as expected it was shoddy work promoted by religious social conservatives.


  1. says

    Ed’s been all over this. The excuses for the bad methodology have been kind of cute. For instance, they couldn’t get a large enough good sample. I guess that makes it OK to just pad out your sample with people who clearly don’t fit.

  2. says

    My favorite part of this study’s defenders is the claim that ‘there are no longitudinal studies of gay parents”, I’ll admit.

  3. says

    Even good research gets it wrong occasionally. For example, if researchers use a .05 level of significance, it means that they expect their conclusion to be wrong 5% of the time. Anti-science types thus have a ready resource in the outliers when they seek “scientific” validation, pointing to the 5% that support their positions while pretending the 95% doesn’t exist. In this case, however, they went one better, by crafting a lousy piece of original research. More efficient!

  4. says

    I posted a link to a comment about the background and affiliations of some of the study’s defenders (and then Ed Brayton linked to more).

    It’s interesting to me that it takes something like this to cause people to confront the issue of the distortion of social science in many subfields by the influx of large amounts of money from the Religious Right. It’s obvious why the Regnerus case would be considered an urgent matter: the research is directly related to policy efforts with serious consequences for people’s lives and funded by people with a very specific bigoted agenda in an election year. But I can’t help but note that similarly funded and “methodologically challenged” research in the sociology of religion – about science and “spirituality” (Elaine Ecklund especially), say, or religion and morality – even when published in respected journals doesn’t seem to draw any real criticism from the profession. That’s probably why those 18 defenders could feel so confident. People need to start paying a lot more attention to the larger problem.

  5. says

    I mentioned this study in one of TETs and am glad to see it getting noticed now. One of my overly-religious relatives posted it as an anti-gay position and it just didn’t jibe with what I knew. (My opinion can be changed, but only by real evidence to the contrary.) Unfortunately I’m not scientist enough to make an informed critique of the paper so I’m glad to see those who can are doing so.

  6. mudpuddles says

    @ SC, #4

    I agree, and I think its a huge problem when the editors of a scientific journal are so clearly aligned with a political viewpoint that is likely to bias their interpretations and policies. It really disgusts me.

    @ dianne, #8

    Are Elsevier particularly noted for a lack of integrity in editorship? Do you reckon its perhaps a problem of the for-profit journal model in general?

  7. larrylyons says

    How did this study get beyond the various review committees for the UofT at Austin. I am simply astounded that such a study would have been allowed as soon as the departmental research committee had seen it. What’s even more amazing is that it was accepted. Where was the peer review?