Bigot of the Week Award: June 15, Mark Regnerus

15 Jun

Bigot of the Week

Congratulations to University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus for making anti-gay hate groups happy and ignoring basic principles of surveys all in one publication. The outspoken professor has a new study in the July issue of Social Science Research entitled How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study. Great title — lousy science. One expects better from University of Texas, Austin–shame on you UT Austin.

Regnerus claims that his extensive research

clearly reveals that children appear most apt to succeed well as adults — on multiple counts and across a variety of domains — when they spend their entire childhood with their married mother and father.

Unfortunately, a cursory review of the study clearly reveals two things: Regnerus’ methodology is fatally flawed and the outcomes he trumpets aren’t that obvious even allowing for those flaws. The main thing he proves is that kids in stable homes do better than kids in unstable homes (DUH) and that he only looked at heterosexual stable homes. He makes no effort to create a matched set of households for comparison and uses some truly bizarre logic to determine what constitutes a same-sex household (really? have you ever taken a basic research class, Mark?).

Regnerus has a history of headline-grabbing sensationalism based on bigotry. He wrote a piece for Slate arguing that the sexual revolution has actually been harmful to women as well as pieces maintaining that good Christians should ensure that their children marry early before society can corrupt their values. His new study was funded by two socially conservative groups: the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation.

Both the New Yorker and Media Matters do an excellent job of dismantling the Regnerus study. What a shame this right-wing bigot wasted over $750,000 dollars in research funds just to give NOM and Tony Perkins another lie to spread.


17 Responses to “Bigot of the Week Award: June 15, Mark Regnerus”

  1. Scott Rose June 15, 2012 at 6:48 am #

    How Anti-Gay Regnerus ‘Study’ Was Corrupted By NOM From Beginning To End

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 15, 2012 at 6:51 am #

      Scott, thank you for including this link. Thank you also for helping people know how corrupt Regnerus really is!

  2. Scott Rose June 15, 2012 at 6:48 am #

    NOM Shill Mark Regnerus’ Long History Of Using Religion To Attack Gays

  3. unsocialite June 15, 2012 at 7:21 am #

    Reblogged this on unsocialite.

  4. Christine Noble June 15, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    The New Yorker article is great. Wish they hadn’t started off with the erroneous assumption that questioning methodology is a somehow a cheap shot. Questioning it without backing up your claims is a cheap shot. Questioning with backing up your claims is not only permissible but necessary to proper dialogue about a subject.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 15, 2012 at 10:47 am #

      How on earth did UT Austin allow this fool to publish this article without real science?

  5. nevercontrary June 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    Something like this does harm for years and years. People will ignorantly cling to it. Next time I am at UT I will give him a piece of my mind.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 15, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

      Bonnie, I’m also angry that the media have not torn this bastard apart for false science. Shame on him and shame on UT Austin.

      • nevercontrary June 15, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

        The truth is that he is probably gay and so ashamed feels he must prove to himself that being straight is better. I cannot imagine the pain that list twisted deep inside him. I feel sorry for him and his soul.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 15, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

        Actually, I suspect you are spot on and that he is a self-loathing closet queen.

  6. therbert July 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    I think the author (Mark Regnerus) and this study are being unfairly portrayed by both sides of the gay rights issue. If anyone has not read this article, I would encourage you to – it is a well-planned, well-argued, and well-executed study. I would also encourage reading it because it does not support what many in the anti-gay community would construe it: as supporting the notion that growing up with a lesbian or gay parent is somehow inherently “bad.” In fact, the author of this study takes great pains to point out the fact that the results DO NOT imply causality: “The NFSS is not a longitudinal study, and therefore cannot attempt to broach questions of causation;” “any monolithic ideas about same-sex parenting experiences in general are not supported by these analyses;” “I am not suggesting that growing up with a lesbian mother or gay father causes suboptimal outcomes because of the sexual orientation or sexual behavior of the parent.” Hardly makes him a bigot in my book.

    I took the liberty of analyzing the data from the study and found that, while it is true that adult children who grew up with a lesbian parent did differ on 24/40 outcomes, children from stepfamilies also differed on 24/40 outcomes, and children from single heterosexual households differed on 21/40 outcomes. In fact, every single group studied (even adopted children) demonstrated some difference from the comparison group (children who grew up with still-married biological parents). There were only 5 categories which were unique to adult children of homosexual parents; similarly, there were 5 categories that were unique to adult children of heterosexual households (in other words, 5 categories where children with homosexual parents did not differ from the comparison group, but those with heterosexual parents did). What this suggests is not that homosexuality results in poorer outcomes, but that deviations from the “nuclear” family (where biology seems to also play a role, since adopted children differed on 8/40 outcome measures) may play a role.

    Some interesting tidbits I found from reading the article are that children from homosexual households are AS LIKELY AS children raised by both biological parents to 1. be in homosexual relationships; 2. report being similarly close with their biological father; 3. report the same overall happiness; 4. report being similarly promiscuous; and 5. report similar physical health. Incidentally, the ONE group that was more likely to be in a same-sex relationship was the Stepfamily group (I make this point since I have heard many argue that being raised by homosexual parents predisposes one to being homosexual, and I guess that’s supposed to be a bad thing.).

    Again, I would encourage readers to do their homework and process information as it is, not as they would wish it to be.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt July 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

      I have in fact read Regenerus’ study. Regenerus has already disclosed that his methodology is flawed, as I pointed out in my article. I might gently ask you to read your last sentence and process more information.

      • therbert July 25, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

        Michael, I’m well aware of the criticisms of the study; however, I think that judgment as to its validity and reliability should be reserved until the UT inquiry (and full investigation, if it comes to that) is completed. By launching accusations, flinging invectives, and passing judgment prematurely, we run the risk of having to backtrack IF this study ultimately passes academic muster, which then lends credence to the conservatives who are accusing us of dismissing scientific evidence that runs contrary to our agenda. As it stands, we can only evaluate the data as presented under the assumption that the study followed the rigorous protocols of scientific study, not the least significant of which is the peer-review process. Presumably, this study has been reviewed by other scientists, at least one of whom should have been an expert in this particular field of sociology. Usually, if a study has gained acceptance and publication in a journal, it would have been closely scrutinized for any “fatal flaws” that would render it unpublishable. Again, if these protocols were not followed, then it will be a different ballgame, but there are no substantiated claims at this time that prove otherwise (unless you have some clear proof that I am missing, in which case I would be interested in reading it). The fact that Regnerus has disclosed limitations in his study is not unusual – most studies do.

        In the meantime, until that inquiry and/or investigation is completed, a more productive venture than derision of the study would be to formulate an argument (as you did above) using the study’s own data to point out that the misinterpretation of the data. In the event that the study is validated, it would be a more credible argument to make if we don’t have to first eat our words about “fatally flawed” studies.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt July 25, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

        Are you being intentionally obtuse, or intentionally homophobic? Rengenurs himself has admitted his methodology is flawed!

    • Scott Rose July 28, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

      If you don’t understand that in order for a study based on a test-group/control-group comparison to be valid, the test-group/control-group comparison must be valid, you are an idiot. Regnerus made no valid comparison between his test group and his control group. That is the beginning and the end of the discussion of whether his study is valid; it is not.

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