July 24, 2012

"A sociologist whose data find fault with same-sex relationships is savaged by the progressive orthodoxy."

"Many sociologists view higher education as the perfect gig, a way to be paid to engage in 'consciousness raising' through teaching, research, and publishing—at the expense of taxpayers, donors, and tuition-paying parents, many of whom thoughtfully believe that what those sociologists are pushing is wrong...."
It is also easy for some sociologists to lose perspective on the minority status of their own views, to take for granted much that is still worth arguing about, and to fall into a kind of groupthink. The culture in such circles can be parochial and mean. I have seen colleagues ignore, stereotype, and belittle people and perspectives they do not like, rather than respectfully provide good arguments against those they do not agree with and for their own views.

39 comments:

campy said...

But ... but ... but ... sociology is a science!! I thought the left respected science?

Nathan Alexander said...

Cue Andy R. with a comment about bigots within 15 minutes.

Pogo said...

If he were in Canada or England he'd be charged with a crime.

If Obama is re-elected, he will be.

ndspinelli said...

Hatboy Magnet Day. Got to drive up those hits for sweeps week.

Andy R. said...

I wish the article you linked to had included some links to the attacks that are being directed at Regnerus.

The dynamic I have seen is lay people attempting to use the Regnerus study as a reason to oppose gay marriage based on a flawed understanding of his study. Then other people attack those people who were (incorrectly) using the Regnerus study. And I think the attack on the people using the Regnerus study got somewhat conflated with an attack on the Regnerus study itself.

I can't remember if I read the study when it first came out and had the first round of attention in the news or just looked at the abstract, so I'll have to look it over again.

Stilton Cheeseright said...

In other news; Pope still Catholic, Bears Crap in Woods.

elkh1 said...

"I have seen colleagues ignore, stereotype, and belittle people and perspectives they do not like, rather than respectfully provide good arguments against those they do not agree with and for their own views."

A perfect description of a Tolerant Progressive.

chickelit said...

The culture in such circles can be parochial and mean

The culture in such cirles mainly feeds off fructose and other sugars naturally present in semen.

Sorun said...

A critical progressive outlook is part of sociology's character and contribution to the world, making it an interesting and often useful discipline, especially when it comes to understanding poverty and inequality, determining whether social policies are effective, and establishing why education systems succeed and fail.

What bullshit. All of these have politically-correct "progressive" answers no less than same-sex issue. That's why there's such a controversy!

chickelit said...

Hey cool! They used "auto da fe" in the linked article. I used that same term just yesterday here in a similar context: link.

What a coincidence!

Kirby Olson said...

The Catholic Orthodoxy in Galileo's time had nothing on today's PC elite. At least the Catholics in their heyday knew what they were doing was wrong. It will be quite difficult to tell the contemporary left that they are not right. They think if they kill a million people for the truth (Cambodia) it must be right. To kill 40 million (China) or most of the Ukraine, it's all good, because it's in the name of a good cause. This one is especially fun because the research appears to have been done right, but since it doesn't accord with the pre-held beliefs of the left, the one who came up with this should never be allowed into the guild.

Ken said...

Is this a surprise for anyone who's been to college. Halfway through getting my PhD, I had to ask myself "Why?". I was surrounded by people I couldn't stand. Why work so hard to become a researcher/professor at a university, where I will be surrounded by similar people, people I cannot stand? Small minded, group think pricks who belittle anyone who doesn't think as they do.

I left the program early. Wrote a quick master's thesis and now get paid more than most professors and am surrounded by hardworking people who know what their job is.

wyo sis said...

"A critical progressive outlook is part of sociology's character and contribution to the world, making it an interesting and often useful discipline, especially when it comes to understanding poverty and inequality, determining whether social policies are effective, and establishing why education systems succeed and fail"

In other words it's not science at all, but wishful thinking and political hackery.

Scott said...

This isn't an article. It's an opinion piece.

And in spite of its length, it doesn't cite even one of Dr. Regnerus' critics. We just have to take the author's word that he's being thrown under the bus, and leave it at that.

I'm personally for gay marriage and gay and lesbian couples having foster and adopted children. And if Dr. Regnerus has responsible academic critics, we should at least hear their viewpoints.

Andy R. said...

Here is the study if anyone wants to read it.

This article does a good job of explaining the flaw in the study and what it does and does not say. A Liberal War on Science? Don’t bury Mark Regnerus’ study of gay parents. Learn what it can teach the left and right.

ndspinelli said...

Good due diligence Hatboy. As you leave all us bigots, "Don't let the door hit ya' where the Good Lord split ya'!" And, take your time getting back w/ us..a week would be good.

ndspinelli said...

Damn!!

JL said...

From the article:

"Sociology's progressive orthodoxy and the semicovert activism it prompts threaten the intellectual vitality of the discipline, the quality of undergraduate education, and public trust in academe. Reasonable people cannot allow social-science scholarship to be policed and selectively punished by the forces of activist ideology and politics, from any political quarter. University leaders must resist the manipulation of research review committees by nonacademic culture warriors who happen not to like certain findings."

This description can be applied to many academic disciplines, not just sociology.

This article can be used as a response to the one linked to by Althouse yesterday, where Prof. Jacoby decries what has happened to conservative intellectualism. Conservatives and true liberal thinkers are opposed to current Progressive groupthink masquerading as the new enlightenment. To oppose groupthink is not anti-intellectual. Quite the contrary.

karrde said...

I've seen comments elsewhere that the existence of the homosexual-rights community often results in situations in which free speech is chilled or denigrated.

Until this happened, I hadn't given that thought much credence.

Now, I don't know what to think.

Instapundit had some thoughts on this, in which he indicated that the researcher was being subjected to allegations of research misconduct.

Mostly because his results bucked the social-science consensus on the issue.

Not because of alleged misconduct.

The study in question appears to be the first with a large number of adult respondents.

The best analysis of the study I've seen is by a guy who not usually a friend of homosexual-rights. But he notes that the study doesn't necessarily produce any broad conclusion about homosexual parents, except that children of homosexual parents in this study are in the general set of children who grew up outside of intact biological families.

Apparently, the rates of sexual-abuse of children raised outside of intact biological families is noticeable across the spectrum. These included step-families, single-heterosexual parents, and single-homosexual parents. Generally, situations in which unrelated adults come into contact with the children on a regular basis.

Quaestor said...

Hard science concepts like evidence, hypothesis and falsification are so slippery and nebulous in the social sciences that personal invective is often the only reliable tool to deal with unorthodoxy.

Sociology as a discipline is in an analogous situation to biology before Darwin and molecular genetics. Like Cuvier and Lamarck they can observe and classify according to some internally consistent schema, but that's about it -- leaving theory and postulate with little predictive power, so its almost impossible to propose an experiment that will falsify a given proposition. Even statistical models have limited use since all samples are to at least some degree either too small to be significant or tainted by self-selection (At my school the sociologists and developmental psychologist used to traipse through the Maths-grad lounge in the wee hours to leave their questionnaires for us to find and fill out -- it appeared that's all they did. We took endless delight in trying to skew their data with patently insane responses. Basted on the results the average math student was a cross between Truman Capote and Heinrich Himmler.)

Andy R. said...

I'm curious how many of the people here criticizing the field of sociology have ever read a peer-reviewed article from a leading sociology journal.

karrde said...

@Andy R:

I hadn't seen that link to Slate when I composed.

While skimming it, I notice a couple of interesting things.

The Slate author came to a similar conclusion: intact, stable parental relationships are better than parents with unstable relationships.

Also, the definition of homosexual parent as used in the study are a little loose.

Both are interesting. But neither should have led to allegations of scientific misconduct, or the witch-hunt attitude outlined in the beginning of the Slate article.

So...I feel like I need to return to my original thought.

Is this an attempt to squelch free speech or honest scientific inquiry?

If so, does this mean that homosexual-rights activists would rather squelch free speech when they think it might help their cause?

David said...

Andy R. said...
"I'm curious how many of the people here criticizing the field of sociology have ever read a peer-reviewed article from a leading sociology journal."

Me. Quite a few, Andy. So what. Intelligent people can't form an opinion without the peer reviewed literature?

This post is about the rabid dogs of academia, and how they will shred those who are not orthodox. And believe it I don't need any peer reviewed literature to know that is going on.

A large percentage of "experts" are full of crap, Andy.

edutcher said...

Waiting for, "The science is settled", on this.

Then we'll know something's not kosher.

MadisonMan said...

Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

Q said...

http://inductivist.blogspot.com/2012/07/straight-vs-lesbian-families.html

Something to think about. Click on the page to expand it.

Q said...

I'm curious how many of the people here criticizing the field of sociology have ever read a peer-reviewed article from a leading sociology journal.


The data on "Two Moms vs Mom And Dad" I linked to is from Social Science Research.

I'm sure you will have nothing critical to say about it, knowing as I do your deep respect for the field of sociology.

William said...

My intuitive sense is that gay couples probably do better at parenting than crack whores and probably do worse at it than heterosexual couples. It is better to be young and rich than old and poor.

Michael K said...

I have news for hatboy. Charles Murray was subjected to similar criticism and attacks for "The Bell Curve." His offense, and source of the attacks, was a conclusion from data that Blacks have a slightly lower mean IQ than whites and Asians. The book also provided evidence that Asians had slightly higher mean IQ that whites but that was not controversial for the usual reasons.

I was at Dartmouth at the time it came out and when people learned I had a copy, many of them asked to borrow it when I finished. They didn't want to have others know they had read it.

Sociology, as someone pointed out, is at the "descriptive" stage of science and will probably never get any farther.

My daughter, shortly after she got a degree in Anthropology from UCLA, refused to read "The Blank Slate," by Stephen Pinker. She didn't want to expose herself to the alternate theory. She was a fan of Stephen Jay Gould who was a behaviorist. Pinker believes that most behavior is genetic in origin and has a lot of date in his book.

She is ten years older now and questioning her PhD program. She has other options as she speaks four languages, including Arabic, but she has a nice grant and is reluctant to give it up in this economy.

By the way, the Aurora shooter got his money for guns and ammo from a big NIH grant. People were wondering where he got the money. Now we know.

Andy R. said...

The data on "Two Moms vs Mom And Dad" I linked to is from Social Science Research.

I'm sure you will have nothing critical to say about it, knowing as I do your deep respect for the field of sociology.


Q: That data is from the Regnerus study. Which is what this post is about. I included a link to the whole study earlier, although isn't not clear if anyone in this thread has read it yet.

Anyway, I find the conclusions about "lesbian mothers" to be somewhere between misleading and useless.

Q said...

I find the conclusions about "lesbian mothers" to be somewhere between misleading and useless.


I'm saddened that you have so little respect for the field of sociology. Come on, man! Peer review, and all that.



This article does a good job of explaining the flaw in the study and what it does and does not say.


Remind me again, where did Saletan get his degree in sociology?

He accepts that the data shows that the children of gay parents do badly, and concludes from this - that we need gay marriage!

Saletan's remarks are inane gibberish of the sort you might expect from a man last seen arguing that Roman Polanski's 13 year-old victim brought it on herself.

It's quite plausible that the 13-year-old girl Polanski had sex with in the late 1970s was, to some degree, sexually mature. Having sex at 13 is a bad idea. But if you're pubescent, it might be, in part, your bad idea.


Other than being Jewish, is there any reason this turd gets his garbage published for a national audience?

Quaestor said...

askewhatguy wrote:
I find the conclusions about "lesbian mothers" to be somewhere between misleading and useless.

Quelle surprise, c'est ne pas.

Triangle Man said...

When you hear about the study, what you think it means is that kids raised by two moms or two dads don't do as well as kids raised by a mom and a dad. It seems that what the guy actually measured was more like "kids who reported that their mom or dad had had a same-sex relationship" versus "kids who reported that their parents had never had a same sex relationship".

ndspinelli said...

When our daughter was considering post graduate studies in sociology we happened to be in Vegas on a vacation. In a strip casino there were women employees dancing on top of some slot machines. My bride looked @ my daughter and said, "Those women have post graduate sociology degrees." And I bet their dissertations were peer reviewed, just like all those global warming fiction papers.

You see Hatboy, even when you make somewhat intelligent comments you carry all the baggage of your horseshit comments. That's the way the world works

Peter said...

"A critical progressive outlook is part of sociology's character and contribution to the world, ..."

Once you admit that your discipline privileges some political PoVs to the point excluding anything to the contrary you've all but said that your discipline incorporates what can only be described as dogma.

If that's the case then the problem is much larger than just public reaction to this particular study. When dogmas prevent investigation in certain politically sensitive areas, scholars working in the field can either admit that's the case (and avoid these subjects) or work to eliminate the dogmas.

Perhaps it is not Gelernter who should be tarred with the "Scopes Trial" comparison, but those "critically progressive" sociologists (complete with the wink-wink, "Aren't we all?") who have all but declared that investigations may not question certain revealed Truths?

Renee said...

Ten years ago, it felt bipartisan, to all agree both mom and dad are important to children. Now I find fewer and fewer academic articles.

Dante said...

To me, that there would be differences is not surprising at all. After all, it's the rainbow crowd who argues how important diversity is, except for the most intimate form of diversity, having a male and female parent.

Unfortunately, it isn't fair, and as such goes against the leftist dogma. Therefore, it must be attacked, or rather, the person who wrote it must be attacked.

Some same sex couples with kids might say "Hmm, this is good information, we ought to adjust for the better of our children." Unfortunately, it violates a basic tenet of the liberal herd meme about fairness, equality, sameness, etc.

n.n said...

They demand normalization and offer intolerance in return.

The only objective standard is the natural order. The homosexual behavior has no redeeming value to either society or humanity. However, until it reaches critical mass in a population it can likely be tolerated.

A further question is if this behavior is a reflection of other mental aberrations, which pose not only an existential (i.e. long-term) but a more immediate threat to other individuals. There seems to be only anecdotal evidence of a dependent relationship between this deviant behavior and other behaviors we have chosen to reject outright.

In any case, there is no legitimate reason to normalize a behavior which is both deviant, unproductive, and serves no one's interests other than the individuals in a couplet. There is a precautionary need to tolerate it; but, it is not immediately obvious in what contexts. As it is incompatible with the definitive natural order, any tolerance is an experiment to test social and biological viability. As the behavior constitutes evolutionary dysfunction, we should consider carefully the way this experiment is conducted.

That said, while homosexual behavior is definitive of dysfunctional behavior, it is not exclusively in that class. Heterosexual behavior can also be corrupted and mimic the same dysfunction with even greater repercussions for society and humanity.

DADvocate said...

Obviously, the claim that objectivity and neutrality does not exist in the social sciences holds a lot of truth. Surprise, surprise surprise as Gomer would say.

The big question is, "Why do we use taxpayer money to support these people?"