Regnerus Revisited: What’s hiding in his closet?

22 Apr

RegnerusRegular readers will remember Mark Regnerus, the ethically challenged researcher from the University of Texas at Austin. I need to thank my friends Scott Rose and LGBT ally Devon for their vigilance around this nefarious man and the far reaching impact of his lies (flawed research). His “New Family Structures Study” appeared in the journal Social Science Research and argued that children raised by LGBT parents suffered negative outcomes. His statistical methods were deeply flawed (at best) and his conclusions so tenuous that even he could provide only the flimsiest defenses when challenged. It is pretty clear that the Witherspoon Institute, the homophobic far-right think tank that underwrote his research had a very political agenda.

Now it looks like Regnerus and his funders will do everything they can to hide that agenda. Journalist John Becker is trying to get to the bottom of things and has so far been blocked at every turn. The editor of the journal, James Wright, is on the faculty of the University of Central Florida, making his communications subject to public records requests. When Becker filed such requests, the University denied them, maintaining that the communications belong to the publisher, Elsevier. Becker’s attorneys are filing suit, arguing that the article belongs to the publisher — which is more than happy to have it cited and quoted widely — but that any of Wright’s communications belong to the University.

Why all the secrecy? The study was rushed to publication in just six weeks; papers usually take months, often more than a year, to review before publication. An independent audit determined that the review process was so sloppy that the “paper should never have been published.” An investigation by the American Independent makes it clear the Witherspoon Institute wanted some damning data to include in their brief to the Supreme Court opposing marriage equality in the Prop 8 and DOMA hearings.

So there you have it. Two professors — a “researcher” and an editor — cooking a study to meet a foregone conclusion and rushing it to print to meet a well-funded political agenda. Two universities supporting that work and publication. Flawed and dangerous data spreading lies about the LGBT community to influence critical court cases. Most people have rejected the publication, but it is out there for bigots to wield however they like while Regnerus and Wright suffer nothing for their abuse of power–what strange bedfellows-producing and publishing lies for money.  I believe many might just call these two whores!

12 Responses to “Regnerus Revisited: What’s hiding in his closet?”

  1. dykewriter April 22, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Reblogged this on dyke writer and commented:
    the scientific method

    depends on peer review and methodolgy


    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 22, 2013 at 9:31 am #

      Nina, I have no idea how he got his published in just 6 weeks. I have to say that I am ashamed of the two universities involved here, for they are colluding with the homophobic dominant culture. Thank you for reblogging this!

      • dykewriter April 22, 2013 at 9:34 am #

        I think you answered your own question

        it’s people asserting their belief over evidence

        cherry pickers and their backers

        no different than anyone who’s still a catholic are pedo priest supporters

        how pedophiles are preferred over queers

        is beyond me

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 22, 2013 at 9:36 am #

        It is the hypocrisy of these institutional systems that really bothers me.

      • dykewriter April 22, 2013 at 9:54 am #

        intellectual dishonesty and laziness for me

  2. Jay April 22, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    I think characterizing these two as ‘whores’ does a disservice to sex workers, many of whom are fundamentally decent people who, whether due to dire circumstances or a personal choice, provide a valuable service to their clients.

    Distorting ostensibly academic research to reach a preconceived conclusion is very bad.

    Using the shield of tenure and academic freedom to avoid scrutiny of that distorted research makes it worse.

    When that distorted research is manifestly intended to cause harm to the civil rights and well-being of an historically oppressed minority (and their children!), the very bad is heightened to become the outright diabolical.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 22, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

      I love your comment here for so many reasons! First, I have to acknowledge that you are absolutely right. I should never have painted them with the same brush as sex workers, who regardless of circumstances or choices provide valuable services to clients–a far more transparent and needed part of the larger economic picture. I would just add that I wish sex workers had health insurance and a retirement account.

      The other lovely gem you give SJA readers is that Regnerus is nothing less than diabolical, and sadly now the two universities are implicated–and that is just a dirt that won’t wash clean!

  3. Scott Rose April 22, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    I first documented in August 2012 that Brad Wilcox (who is on Wright’s editorial board) — in his capacity as a Witherspoon official had collaborated with Regnerus on the study. Regnerus’s first NFSS paper in Social Science Research alleged that the funders were not at all involved with study design, et cetera. In August, I immediately showed the documentation of Wilcox’s involvement in the study to James Wright. He ignored it. In his November issue, Wright published Regnerus’s follow-up NFSS paper, in which the lie is repeated that his funders were not at all involved with designing or carrying out his study. That is to say, Wright knowingly published a lie from Regnerus, in violation of the Committee on Publication Ethics’ Code of Conduct for editors, section 2.1 which says: “Readers should be informed about who has funded research or other scholarly work and whether the funders had any role in the research and its publication and, if so, what this was.”

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 22, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

      Scott, thank you for your diligence and voice for social justice. I’m just glad we are creating a lovely paper trail of the harms, lies, and criminal acts of Regnerus and the two universities that are now guilty of collusion.

      • Scott Rose April 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

        Note that I have repeatedly called on James Wright to make full and complete disclosure of Wilcox’s role in the study. As Wilcox is on Wright’s editorial board, both obviously are implicated in the ethics violations involved. Wright is arrogant and has refused to answer my demands for him to make full disclosure, even though such disclosure is stipulated in his profession’s Code of Conduct. Meanwhile, my investigations keep turning up additional roles for Wilcox in the study. For example, in August, 2011 — before data collection had been done — Regnerus and Wilcox met for a full day in Colorado with Focus on the Family’s Glenn Stanton to discuss NFSS media and P.R. promotions.

  4. Central Oregon Coast NOW April 27, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

    Reblogged this on Central Oregon Coast NOW.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 27, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

      Nancy, thank you for reblogging this article about this nefarious man! We need people to be aware of how dangerous his lies are!

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