Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Family Research Council has yet to address article claiming that it uses anti-lgbt junk science

FRC president Tony Perkins
The Family Research Council is an organization which doesn't like to be publicly criticized about its agenda or tactics. The group generally likes to frame any public criticism it receives as an attack on "Christian values" and generally exploits said criticism as such in its emails and fundraising to its supporters

But not a recent public criticism.

Last week, the online magazine Wired called out FRC for using junk science to denigrate the lgbt community. The article was extremely scathing. Part of it reads as follows:

That the FRC has found its way back into a position of influence over the presidency shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. The group has been making political moves since the early 1980s. Since then, it’s grown to become the most successful progeny of an effort among social conservatives to move the basis of their policy recommendations away from Scripture and toward sociology. Not that legitimate sociology is where the FRC has arrived. Rather, the group is to homophobia what the National Policy Institute is to the alt-right—a bland, respectable-sounding, quasi-academic front for a hateful, regressive ideology. It comes packaged in a way that looks like real science but is really just cherrypicked data stitched together to serve its agenda.

“A whole slew of real scientists who have demanded that the Family Research Council stop using their data,” says Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has designated the FRC an extremist group.

 . . .  The papers the FRC produces often purport to be meta-analyses—studies of studies. Rather than compiling an accurate synthesis of mainstream scientific inquiry, however, the group mis-contextualizes data to arrive at a desired conclusion. This technique is how the FRC manages to link homosexuality to, among other things, pedophilia and shortened lifespans, despite strong scientific consensus to the contrary. When the group is not twisting mainstream scientists’ numbers, it’s citing organizations such as the American College of Pediatricians, which sure sounds like the American Academy of Pediatrics but is actually a far-right breakaway group with only 200 members.

The article was significant for two reasons. 1. It avoided the "religious angle" FRC generally uses to cover up its anti-lgbt bias. 2 Since its publication, no one from FRC, including its president, Tony Perkins, has made any comment on it.

And that last point is highly striking.  A high level Washington beltway organization, albeit one thought of as a hate group by a large number of people, not answering the charges that it relies on junk science is a major deal.

Maybe FRC is hoping that whatever controversy the article may bring will pass without generating any significant discussion or look into its doings. If this is the case, it sounds like there does need to be a serious degree of discussion on this issue.

I hope folks are paying attention.

No comments: