Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Anti-gay groups own the patent on scientific distortions

The sad fact that a pro-gay study has turned out to be fraudulent would only be made worse should, when discussing this situation, folks forget that anti-gay groups have practically wrote the book on distorting science.

FOF's Tom Minnery distorted science in 2011.
By now, I am sure many of you have heard about this monstrosity of a situation:

A study claiming that gay people advocating same-sex marriage can change voters’ minds has been retracted due to fraud. . . . The study was published last December in Science, and received lots of media attention (including from BuzzFeed News). It found that a 20-minute, one-on-one conversation with a gay political canvasser could steer voters in favor of same-sex marriage. Not only that, but these changed opinions lasted for at least a year and influenced other people in the voter’s household, the study found.

Donald Green, the senior author on the study, retracted it on Tuesday shortly after learning that his co-author, UCLA graduate student Michael LaCour, had faked the results. Science posted an official “editorial expression of concern” — a very big deal in the science world — on Wednesday afternoon.
“I am deeply embarrassed by this turn of events and apologize to the editors, reviewers, and readers of Science,” Green, a professor of political science at Columbia University, said in his retraction letter to the journal, as posted on the Retraction Watch blog.

I am personally furious for the obvious reasons that a pro-gay study turned out to be fraudulent, but also I can just imagine how anti-gay groups and spokespeople will attempt to spin this.  If they are smart, they would be wise to remain in their glass houses.

Mark Regnerus created a discredited negative study on gay parenting.
It's not as if distorting science and legitimate studies are situations alien to anti-gay groups. Ever since starting this blog in 2006, I have kept a listing of the times researchers, Ph.D., and physicians have complained that anti-gay groups have distorted their work to prove negative theories about lgbts, even if said study was actually saying the opposite. Among the examples I have compiled:

National Institute of Health director Francis Collins, who rebuked the right-wing American College of Pediatricians for falsely claiming that he stated sexual orientation is not hardwired by DNA.

Six researchers of a 1997 Canadian study (Robert S. Hogg, Stefan A. Strathdee, Kevin J.P. Craib, Michael V. Shaughnessy, Julio Montaner, and Martin T. Schehter), who complained in 2001 that religious right groups were distorting their work to claim that gay men have a short life span.

The authors of the book Unequal Opportunity: Health Disparities Affecting Gay and Bisexual Men in the United States (Professors Richard J. Wolitski, Ron Stall, and Ronald O. Valdiserri), who complained that their work was being distorted by Focus on the Family.

University College London professor Michael King, who complained that the American Family Association was distorting his work on depression and suicide in LGBT individuals.
Dr. Robert Spitzer, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, who has consistently complained that religious right groups distorted his study to claim that the LGBT orientation is easily changeable

And how could we forget that lovely time in 2011, when Tom Minnery, a spokesman from Focus on the Family, was dressed down by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) during a Congressional hearing for deliberately misrepresenting a study

Last but not least, the piece de resistance of  anti-gay scientific distortion - the Mark Regenerus anti-gay parenting study which was conceived, paid for, and spread by anti-gay groups regardless of its numerous problems, including containing a multitude of errors  and being rebuked by over 200 researchers, the sociology department of  Regenrus's own university, and Michigan federal judge, Bernard Friedman.

And I am almost sure that the Family Research Council will trumpet the news of the distorted marriage equality study even though the organization itself has a very nasty history of distorting science, such as the fact that it continues  to cite a fraudulent study, Comparing the Lifestyles of Homosexual Couples to Married Couples, which uses outdated work and compares married United States couples to unmarried gay couples in casual relationships from other parts of the world.

Also, the numerous times FRC continued to defend the Mark Regnerus study even after it has been discredited.

So when it comes to scientific distortions, anti-gay groups have the lgbt community COMPLETELY outgunned, outmanned, and outdone in every conceivable way.

My only hope is that this basic fact will come to light should anti-gay groups begin creating lies about lgbts distorting science.

1 comment:

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Pooh. That study had some too-good-to-be-true vibrations emanating from it, but it's not like it claimed anything that hurt anybody. Except for creating unrealistic expectations.

I wonder if anybody's ever done a study on the efficacy of door to door proselytizing by Jehovah's Witnesses.

What I say to religious solicitors: "I don't talk religion. Have a nice day."

I was taken aback by an older African American gentleman who responded, "May I ask if that is because you were hurt by religion?"

I blinked. Hard. And was really tempted to invite him in and give him lemonade, if I had any lemonade, but I decided to smile and repeat myself instead.