|Mark Regnerus' bad study continues to cause chaos.|
Karl D. Stephan, a professor of electrical engineering (you read that right) has published a piece in the Crisis magazine lambasting the critics of Regenrus' study and claiming that Regnerus is being personally attacked because he supposedly dared to publish a politically incorrect study.
And to do so, he even invokes images of Nazi Germany and its persecution of Jewish people:
In the 1930s, many prominent scientists and engineers in Germany lost their reputations, their jobs, and some eventually their lives because of a non-scientific reason: they happened to be Jews, or outspoken Christians, or simply opposed to some political aim of the government. Everyone now agrees that this was a grievous violation of human rights, an early warning sign of the greater wrongs the German government would do in World War II. While that situation differs from the one Regnerus finds himself in by degree, does it differ in kind from what Jewish scientists suffered in Germany in the 1930s?
Regnerus has reached scientific conclusions that oppose the prevailing political winds. Though his punishment has come from activists rather than official government sources, it is no less politically motivated and no less unjust. Smith thinks the integrity of the social-science research process is threatened by the “public smearing and vigilante media attacks” mounted against Regnerus. If such attacks are successful, we have taken a long step away from scientific integrity and a long step toward the encouragement of a political atmosphere that is totalitarian in its effects.
It probably would have been better had Stefan had just addressed the reasons why folks are questioning Regnerus' work. He briefly talks about it in this mind-boggling paragraph in which he pretty much says he isn't going to address the study's errors:
Regnerus’s study, which he himself admits is not perfect, found otherwise. There were significant negative consequences of being raised by parents who were gay, according to the study. I am not going to address the controversial question of defining “gay” or how extensive the negative consequences were or how accurate and scientific the study was.
Stefan then attempts to make it seem that he is merely criticizing the process in which the peer-review of the study was attacked:
A journalist and self-described “minorities anti-defamation professional” whose pseudonym is Scott Rose wrote a letter to the University of Texas administration alleging that Regnerus’s paper falsified data. This is the most serious professional charge that anyone can level against a scientist, comparable to a malpractice charge against a doctor.
The first wrongdoing (as I pointed out in a letter published in the Austin American-Statesman) was for UT Austin to act on such complaints from a person who was not in a competent professional position to make such assessments. Scott Rose is not a sociologist. Rose has since published the full “evidence” he plans to present to UT Austin, and it consists of two kinds of arguments. One kind comprises disputes over methods and definitions that Regnerus used. If Rose had been selected as a reviewer of Regnerus’s paper, these arguments might have played a role at that point. But Rose, not being a qualified sociologist, has no professional standing to make them, and they must be assessed on their merits by other professional sociologists.
Scott Rose is a free-lance writer who has been calling out Regnerus' study from day one. He is probably the one most singularly responsible for a lot of the negative attention it has been receiving.
However, in calling his name, Stefan makes an error. He makes it seem that Rose is the only person responsible for Regnerus' study being criticized. This is not true.
In June, over 200 professors and therapists sent a letter to James Wright, editor of “Social Science Research,” the journal where Regnerus’s study was published, questioning the study and the process in which it was reviewed.
And it's not as if Stefan isn't aware of the letter. He even acknowledges it in an offhand way:
I have not even mentioned the press coverage with derogatory headlines, the letter signed by over a hundred sociologists objecting to Regnerus’s conclusions, and the politically motivated letter-mobbing of the journal’s editor, James Wright, which pressured him to request the review audit.
Furthermore, Stefan omits the other experts (pointed out by Equality Matters) who has condemned Regnerus' study.
The grand irony of Stefan's sad defense of Regnerus' work is that he cites another defense of the study from sociologist Christian Smith. In his piece, Smith didn't even address the study's errors. Instead, just like Stefan, he attempted to make Regnerus a victim.
But at least he didn't have the poor taste to imply that Regnerus' critics were just like Nazis persecuting Jews.
What's that saying about if you have to invoke Nazis to describe your opponents, that's a sure sign that you have lost the argument?