June 10, 2012.
The Regnerus study’s funders immediately began using the two studies as heavily artillery in their War Against Gays.
The Regnerus study’s chief funder is The Witherspoon Institute, which is joined at the hip to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).
In their early days, Witherspoon and NOM shared an office at 20 Nassau Street, Suite 242 in Princeton, New Jersey. The two anti-gay-rights group remain joined at the hip: Witherspoon president Luis Tellez has a been a NOM board member since NOM was founded by its current mastermind Robert P. George, who also is a Witherspoon senior fellow.
The Witherspoon connection to Elsevier’s journal Social Science Research is Witherspoon’s W. Bradford Wilcox, Director of Witherspoon’s program on “Marriage, Family and Democracy” and an editorial board member of Social Science Research.
The connections between NOM founder and mastermind Robert George and Brad Wilcox do not stop at those observed in the Witherspoon Institute; Wilcox also is a member of Princeton University’s James Madison Society, which is headed by Robert George.
It almost surely was not mere coincidence that — with Wilcox on the Social Science Research editorial board — the twinned Marks and Regnerus studies appeared simultaneously, the Regnerus study through very suspicious rush circumstances in time for pernicious anti-gay-rights political exploitation in the 2012 elections.
No speculation whatsoever is necessary to prove that Social Science Research editor James Wright is attempting to hide his editorial board member Wilcox’s connections to the unethical publication of the Regnerus study through corrupt peer review.
Whereas Regnerus in his published study alleges that his funders played no role in study analyses, Wilcox was issued, and signed, a consulting contract for data analysis on the Regnerus study. Wilcox’s data analysis contract is the second contract at this link.
Wright intends to publish, in November, another non-peer-reviewed article by Regnerus — a response to his critics — which Regnerus titles — “Additional Analyses” — in which Regnerus again lies by saying that his funders have not been involved in data analysis.
An e-mail to Wright asking if he would be correcting that falsehood did not receive the courtesy of a reply.
Meanwhile, there are grounds for concern that Regnerus’s data set is entirely invalid, has been improperly manipulated, or both.
Regnerus claims that his data set is statistically accurate for the whole population of the United States. Yet one of his “findings” is that — out of 2,988 respondents between the ages of 18 and 39 — 620 (six-hundred and twenty) have never once in their lives masturbated. Regarding childhood sexual victimization, Regnerus phrased a question about it, such that there is no way for anybody to know who allegedly sexually victimized his study respondents as children. Yet, his “finding” is that children of “lesbian mothers” are abused at a rate of 23% — nearly double that for the next highest family structure in his study, that of step families, reported at 12%.
Previous studies of lesbian parents consistently have shown low child sex abuse rates. And, the Witherspoon/NOM/FRC cronies involved with the genesis, carrying out, and political promotions of the Regnerus study have long histories of demonizing gay people by conflating homosexuals with pedophiles, a known falsehood.
There is a blockade against third party sociologists being able to evaluate the Wilcox/Regnerus presentation of the study’s “findings,” because Regnerus has not yet released his raw data. The appearance is that Regnerus is withholding his raw data until after the November elections, in line with his funders’ political goals for his study. Regnerus should immediately apologize for his lie about his funders in relation to his data analyses, and he should immediately release his raw data so that third party sociologists can fully evaluate his anti-gay defamation that explicitly exists — in his vague and un-interpretable finding — that children of “lesbian mothers” are sexually abused at a rate of 23%.
The central problem with Elsevier and Regnerus is that objectively viewed, there simply is no basis for trust that the perpetrators are not lying about their product, Regnerus’s study.
It is dismaying that the article by Regnerus that Wright intends to publish in November is titled “Additional Analyses” and that the article says that Regnerus’s funders did not participate in the analyses, when we know for a fact that they did.
Regnerus and his business partner enablers in Elsevier know no shame.
The Regnerus Additional Analyses document is packed full of additional lies and subterfuges. For example, Regnerus purports to answer to the observation that many of his study subjects’ parents were closet cases who entered into sham opposite gender marriages or relationships. He says that that may or may not be the case, but that the study was not designed to make that determination. He then says, that for those cases in his study, where a study respondent’s mother had the respondent child with a man, then separated from the man and had a same-sex relationship, he — pay very, very careful attention to his — Regnerus says that he would “hesitate to assert that a same-sex relationship — especially if relatively brief — is indicative of a fixed sexual orientation.” (Bolding added).
But meanwhile — in documented reality — Regnerus did not at all hesitate to assert that his study subjects’ mothers were “lesbian mothers.” In his published study, he said that the question his study answers is: “Do the children of gay and lesbian parents look comparable to those of their heterosexual counterparts?” Throughout his published study, Regnerus refers to his subjects’ mothers who had same-sex relationships as “lesbian mothers.”
To deflect the criticism of his study, wherein it is surmised, by those doing the criticism, that most of his study’s parents judged to be gay parents were closet cases in sham heterosexual marriages, Regnerus tells a lie, saying that he hesitates to label his study subjects’ parents as lesbian mothers, even though, in his study, he absolutely did label them as lesbian mothers, with no hesitation whatsoever.
And, there is a reason Regnerus is telling this lie; if the main conclusion of his study were that anti-gay prejudice must be eliminated, to prevent the negative fallout that occurs when closet cases enter sham heterosexual marriages and have children, Regnerus’s study funders would not have the anti-gay-rights political weapon that they commissioned from Regnerus for $785,000.
Regnerus lies through his teeth about his study, while talking out both sides of his gay-bashing bigot mouth.
I repeat: The central problem with Elsevier and Regnerus is that objectively viewed, there simply is no basis for trust that the perpetrators are not lying about their product, Regnerus’s study.
At the end of June, 2012, after a group of over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s sent Social Science Research a letter expressing concerns about the twinned Marks and Regnerus studies, emphasizing concerns about the suspicious publication process of the Regnerus submission, and concerns that the Regnerus submission does not support its conclusions, editor James Wright assigned editorial board member Darren Sherkat to an audit of the publication of the studies.
That audit was a sham, with Sherkat admitting that the peer review of the Regnerus study was not valid, yet holding nobody accountable for the gross dereliction of science publishing duty represented by the corrupt publication process for the study. To the contrary, Sherkat invents excuses for all of the Social Science Research malefactors, including that because they are busy in their lives, they cannot be expected to carry out their duties as peer reviewers responsibly.
In a July 16, 2012 e-mail, this reporter asked Sherkat what he would do, if he found that the peer reviewers of the Regnerus study had conflicts of interest. Sherkat said: “I would advise the editor and editorial board that the paper should be retracted and resubmitted for a full review (that is normal procedure in all sciences).” Contradicting that message, Sherkat told interviewer Michael Bajaras, in the wake of his sham audit: “normatively in sociology we don’t retract papers.”
In other words, to keep us quiet, Sherkat said that if he found conflicts of interest, he would tell Wright and the editorial board that the Regnerus study should be retracted, because “that is normal procedure in all sciences,” but then after he did in fact find conflicts of interest, he contradicted his statement about retraction being normal in cases of conflicts of interest, and alleged that “normatively in sociology we don’t retract papers.” Unless Sherkat believes that sociology is not a science, his two contradictory statements can not be reconciled with each other.
Sherkat’s sham audit does not once mention that Regnerus’s Witherspoon funding agent representative Brad Wilcox sits on the editorial board of Social Science Research and that some of his anti-gay-rights cronies were allowed to do peer review and published commentaries about the study. That is to say, Sherkat’s sham audit left very serious, essential facts of the matter, including multiple conflicts of interest, hidden from the public view.
Moreover, Wright intends to publish, in November, a Letter from the Editor about the Regnerus hoax. In his letter, Wright seeks to discredit me. I had reported, accurately, that on July 15, Sherkat told me in an e-mail: “Yes, the peer review process failed here, and you can quote me on that.”
But Wright in his letter accuses me of promoting Sherkat’s statement about peer review failure as being something “much more sinister.” He then includes, in his letter-from-the-editor, quotes from his SSR corporate toady Sherkat, in which quotes Sherkat attempts to make light of his on-the-record statement, absurdly claiming that peer review failure does not really mean that the peer review failed.
Sherkat additionally had told me: “How did this study get through peer review? The peers are right wing Christianists!”
Regnerus’s funding agent representative, who also is Wright‘s Social Science Research editorial board member Brad Wilcox, certainly can be classified as a “right wing Christianist.” And, according to all of the assembled documentation and evidence, Wilcox was permitted to peer review one, and possibly both of the Marks and Regnerus studies. In his article The Fact of Life and Marriage: Social Science and the Vindication of Christian Moral Teaching,” Wilcox argues against contraception.
It could hardly be more obvious than it is, that Wilcox/Regnerus are abusing social science to attempt to achieve a “vindication of Christian moral teaching,” at the expense of gay human beings defamed through their invalid study that was only published through corrupt, insider, study-funder-connected, “right-wing-Christianist” peer review that let glaring scientific failings through into publication.
Ironically, before we had uncovered the connections between Wilcox and the corrupt publication of the Marks and Regnerus studies, Sherkat on July 17 said in an e-mail that “Wilcox most prominently” should be pressured by activists for his anti-gay hate mongering.
It is true that Wilcox is a bad actor and should be pressured. Yet, the real accountability for the publishing hoax involved with the Regnerus study is on the shoulders of the publisher, Elsevier, and Elsevier’s Social Science Research editor James Wright.
Wright has yet to acknowledge — and to give the public full details and documentation about — Wilcox’s involvement in this scandal. Wright has assembled various commentaries in support of Regnerus for publication in November; Wilcox’s name is not once mentioned in those upcoming articles.
An e-mail sent to Wright asking if he would be disclosing Wilcox’s connection to the Regnerus study hoax went without the courtesy of a reply.
With relentless determination, we must demand that James Wright disclose everything known about Wilcox and the Marks and Regnerus studies. Beyond that, the right thing for Elsevier and James Wright to do is to retract the Regnerus study from publication and to put it through valid peer review prior to any eventual future republication.
In a July 15 e-mail, Elsevier’s Social Science Research editorial board member Darren Sherkat said: ”I want to thank you and everyone else in the activist community for keeping this on the front burner.”
To a sign a petition telling Elsevier officials to retract the Regnerus study, go here.
New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.
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