Researcher accused of scientific misconduct by gay rights activists

Professor Mark Regnerus

University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus’ study on the social and mental-health of children raised in heterosexual households versus those raised in homosexual households has caused a lot of controversy since being published in the July issue of Social Science Research. So much so that according to Angela O’Brien of LifeSiteNews, he is being investigated by his employer, the University of Texas, for “scientific misconduct” after receiving complaints from a number of gay rights activists, including Scott Rose, a blogger who recently sent an open letter to UT president William Powers.

Rose’s letter, which can be found here, claims Regnerus is nothing more than a front man for people who want to “dehumanize and discredit gay people.” Adding that Regnerus’ study was “designed to make gay people look bad, through means plainly fraudulent and defamatory.”

Regnerus claims he doesn’t have a political axe to grind and that, as a scientist, he will “follow where the data leads.” 18 notable social scientists have issued a public statement affirming the “scientific integrity of Regnerus’ methods,” but that isn’t enough for Rose. Regnerus “took money,” Rose claims, to produce a “half-baked study” for the “political exploitation and demonization of sexual minorities.”

Regnerus’ study lit up the blogosphere when it was first published a couple weeks ago, and some writers here at CV shared their thoughts about it.

Thomas Peters wrote that “It’s time for gay marriage supporters to revisit some of their core assumptions about the reality of gay parenting and how this reflects on the wider debate about marriage.”

Lauren Hoedeman similarly claimed that “Whereas previously it may have seemed warranted to embrace the view that children of homosexual parents were not in general disadvantaged relative to children of heterosexual parents, now it is clear from Dr. Marks’ review that the jury is still out.”

Peters and Hoedeman are both right. However, the attacks on Dr. Regnerus point to an emerging and deeply disturbing trend in American society: If you call into question the overarching narrative promulgated by our cultural, intellectual and political elites, you are instantly labeled a bigot, a racist, a homophobe, or, in this case, intellectually dishonest.

Denny Burk, an Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College in Kentucky, wrote a great blog post about this exact topic just a few days ago. He argues that “the social pressure to abandon a Christian sexual ethic is getting more intense,” but “at some point, the social pressure will transform into governmental pressure, and Christians will suffer. We will look back on moments like this one as one more step down the path of intolerance of Christian views. Mark Regnerus is in the crosshairs now, but it will be all of us before too long.”

I can only pray that he is wrong.

Stephen Kokx is an adjunct professor of political science and featured columnist at RenewAmerica.com. Follow him on twitter @StephenKokx

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26 thoughts on “Researcher accused of scientific misconduct by gay rights activists

  1. The paper that published the study found that the peer reviewers were connected to Mark Regenerus and didn’t do their job. They concluded that the study should never have been published because it was flawed and false.

  2. Rich says:

    If you call into question the overarching narrative promulgated by the commentators on CatholicVote.org, you are instantly labeled as wrong, and often by someone who has nothing to back it up.

    These writers have nothing to offer by an email account and a below average wit.

    There is very seldom anything about Christianity here. Just political garbage. The situation would be laughable if they were demeaning the name Catholic in the action.

  3. Vivoli says:

    You know what ticks me off? Is that this writer claimant to be a political science professor. Anyone that knows anything can look at this paper and see that it’s rigged. Even the author admitted it. He also clearly stated IN THE PAPER that the study doe not show what this author is claiming. Did you even bother to read it?

  4. patback says:

    I think that Catholic Vote is going to look pretty silly at the end of all this, when the truth about this study comes fully to light. All the evidence to date shows that the study is purposefully dishonest. It was revised after it was published and financed by dubious means. Even Regenerus himself admitted it was flawed while he was doing the talk show circuit. If it was flawed, why did he allow it to be published so it could be distorted as it is above? I suspect the answer to that question is going to be unpleasant to the people that are trying to defend it.

    1. Julie T. says:

      One question for you, patback: Are you deliberately ignoring this reaction by Mark Regnerus’ colleagues or were simply unaware of it?

      http://www.baylorisr.org/2012/06/a-social-scientific-response-to-the-regnerus-controversy/

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