We have been reporting on an invalid sociological study –(allegedly, but not actually, about gay parents’ child outcomes) — carried out by researcher Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas, Austin (UT).
Regnerus’s “study” funding — for a known minimum of $785,000 — was arranged for him by authorities who have control over both the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute and the anti-gay-rights National Organization for Marriage.
Scientific and scholarly misconduct allegations have been filed with UT, which opened an Inquiry, the purpose of which is to determine whether the evidence shows that a full investigation is warranted.
TNCRM’s Scott Rose sent the communication below to UT President William Powers, Jr., expressing concerns that the Inquiry seems only to have made Regnerus more brazen in his evident collusion with his NOM-linked funders.
August 14, 2012
William Powers, Jr.
University of Texas, Austin
Office of the President
Main Building 400 (G3400)
Austin, Texas 78713-8920
In Re: Scientific and Scholarly Misconduct Complaint against UT’s Mark D. Regnerus
Dear President Powers:
On June 21, 2012, I first wrote to you with respect to my scientific and academic misconduct complaints against the University of Texas at Austin’s Mark D. Regnerus, who apparently is in collusion with the funders of his alleged —- but not actual — study on gay and lesbian parents’ child outcomes.
Today, I write to call to your attention to some of the ways that Regnerus recently has been bringing additional disgrace to your university.
Regnerus has a shocking and unprofessional disregard for those who make purely science-based criticisms of his “study,” which objectively considered is commissioned anti-gay hate speech, not a study.
For example, I e-mailed Regnerus with legitimate questions pertaining to his “study” methodology. Here is a sample question from the e-mail I sent him:
“You have alleged in many different interviews that it would be too difficult to find enough stable gay-parent-headed families to compare with children from stable heterosexual couples. If that were even true, why did you not then compare children from unstable homosexual-headed households to children from unstable heterosexual-headed households?”
As you see, my question is Socratic, and addresses the fact that Regnerus cherry-picked his control group of children of heterosexual parents, booby-trapping his study against “gay” parents. Please remember that Regnerus’s funders at the maliciously anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute first approached him to do this “study,” and that they offered him a $55,000 “planning grant.” $55,000, I am sure you will understand, is an extraordinary initial sum for a “study” that only surveyed a total of 2,988 people.
Having given Regnerus $55,000 as a “planning grant,” Witherspoon obviously had an option to turn down, or to request changes to, any study “plan” he might show them. Regnerus in any case went forward with a study plan that featured a cherry picked control group, such that his “study” was booby trapped against gay parents, whom Witherspoon officials wanted demonized. Witherspoon officials did arrange for Regnerus to have his total minimum known “study” funding of $785,000.
Please ask yourself; does it really take $785,000 to survey 2,988 people, resulting in data that can be examined and analyzed by a single scholar on one Excel spread sheet?
Not only did Regnerus not respond to my e-mail asking him legitimate questions about his “study” methodology; he also ignored an e-mail from sociologist Dr. Eric Anderson of the University of Winchester in England. Dr. Anderson wanted Regnerus to answer my questions about his methodology. He also wanted Regnerus to state unequivocally if he supports the continuation of the sexual orientation apartheid system, as he appears to do.
Not only did Regnerus ignore pleas for him to answer questions pertaining to science; Regnerus has cultivated a professional relationship with Robert Oscar Lopez — whose unhinged anti-gay rants in support of the Regnerus “study” Regnerus saw online.
Having initiated communications with Lopez, Regnerus conducted correspondence with him about the “study” and about “LGBT issues.” Subsequently, Regnerus’s study funders of The Witherspoon Institute published a gay-bashing rant by Lopez, very strongly in support of the Regnerus “study,” yet containing multiple very serious misrepresentations of what the Regnerus study says, all of those misrepresentations veering hard in the direction of inciting people against gay rights, precisely Regnerus’s study funders’ political goals for the “study” that they financed and are very heavily promoting.
Lopez inveighs bitterly against having been raised — (allegedly) — by a lesbian mother, now deceased. His behavior in doing that appears to match a NOM strategy, made known to the world when some NOM internal strategy documents were released through court order. Those NOM strategy documents described plans to find children of gay parents who would denounce their gay parents to the public. The Newark Star-Ledger described NOM’s strategy of wanting to split families apart in order to “defend marriage” as being “sick beyond words.”
I have made a public demand for Witherspoon, Regnerus and Lopez to disclose how much Lopez is being paid for his activity promoting the Regnerus “study;” so far, none of those parties have cooperated.
I urge you, President Powers, to instruct UT’s Regnerus to disclose to the public how much Robert Oscar Lopez is being paid to promote the Regnerus “study.”
Regnerus did, after all, contact Lopez first, having seen his gay-bashing support for the Regnerus “study” online. And, Lopez’s gay-bashing essay in support of the Regnerus “study” — (containing multiple, very serious misrepresentations of what the Regnerus study says) — did then get published and widely disseminated by Regnerus’s funders.
There is a glaring ethics problem in that.
NOM’s strategies, meanwhile, also included plans to “drive a wedge” and to “fan hostility” between African-Americans and sexual minorities, to further NOM’s political ends. When civil rights giant Julian Bond learned of NOM’s strategies, he said “It confirms a suspicion that some evil hand was behind this.”
As I have previously pointed out, the top authorities at The Witherspoon Institute also are top authorities of the anti-gay-rights National Organization for Marriage (NOM). The Lopez essay was almost immediately cross-posted from the Witherspoon site to the NOM blog, and to other places online by NOM and/or Witherspoon officials.
You should know that NOM just admitted guilt to 18 counts of breaking California election finance laws.
That is to say, the same organization’s heads who arranged for Regnerus to have the jaw-dropping sum of $785,000 for a sociological “study” that only surveyed 2,988 people — (producing data that can be examined and analyzed by one person looking at an Excel spreadsheet) – admit that their organization is guilty of 18 counts of violations of election finance laws.
NOM wants to settle the charges by paying fines, but, there is some appearance that “the veil has been pierced,” and that NOM’s suspected money laundering and breaking of other states’ campaign finance laws could lead to NOM eventually being prosecuted on RICO charges.
However that may be, it was completely unethical of Regnerus to cultivate Lopez as a ranting anti-gay-rights supporter of his “study” who then very substantially misrepresented what the Regnerus study says, to the public. It simply cannot be coincidence that after Regnerus cultivated Lopez, Lopez’s essay was published and widely disseminated by Regnerus’s study funders.
Regnerus clearly has violated the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics, for example, where it says this: “Sociologists adhere to the highest professional standards in public communications about their professional services, credentials and expertise, work products, or publications, whether these communications are from themselves or from others.”
Were Regnerus not in apparent political collusion with his funders, and were he at all interested in following the ASA’s Code of Ethics, he would never have cultivated the scientifically inappropriate Lopez in the first place, and in the second place, he would already have issued a public correction to Lopez’s and his funders’ glaring misrepresentations of what his study says.
Regnerus, moreover, has engaged in repeated and very obviously deliberate attempts to mislead the public about the (non-existent) scientific validity of his study.
For example, Regnerus repeatedly has used in his study’s defense, that the University of Texas’s Institutional Review Board approved of his study protocol.
And, Regnerus says that, as though UT’s IRB – (when it approves a proposed study’s protocol) – were approving the proposed study’s scientific legitimacy.
But, UT’s Institutional Review Board did not evaluate, or approve, the scientific soundness of Regnerus’s study protocol.
With my existing knowledge of how universities generally operate, I believed that Institutional Review Boards only consider whether proposed studies are safe for their planned human participants. I thought, furthermore, that an IRB might also consider such things as, for example, whether a study plan properly provides for its human subjects’ confidentiality.
But, Institutional Review Boards — as far as I knew – do not consider the scientific soundness of a proposed study.
To fact-check whether that is the case for the University of Texas at Austin, I contacted the Office of the VP & Chief Financial Officer with the following inquiry:
“My understanding of the function of the Institutional Review Board in approving a study plan, is that the board confines itself to determining whether the study plan is ‘safe’ for human participants. i.e, IRB approval in no way implies an endorsement of any other aspect of the study plan, apart from its determinable safeguards for the safety of the human participants? Is my understanding of that correct?“
That office responded, by informing me that they had in turn contacted UT’s Office of Research Support. The UT spokesperson told me: “Yes, your understanding of the IRB approval process is correct: the safety of human subjects participating in a research project.”
That is to say, Regnerus repeatedly tells the media and the public that UT’s Institutional Review Board approved his study protocol – as though UT’s Institutional Review Board had approved THE SCIENTIFIC SOUNDNESS of his study plan – when in fact, UT’s IRB made no judgment whatsoever about the scientific soundness of Regnerus’s study plan.
“Significantly, the University of Texas’s Institutional Review Board approved the protocol.” (Bolding added).
“Significantly,” Regnerus said.
Regnerus very obviously is depending on public ignorance of the function of a university’s Institutional Review Board, in hopes of being able to hoodwink the public into believing — erroneously — that UT’s Institutional Review Board approved the scientific soundness of his study plan.
That Regnerus’s Witherspoon/NOM funders are heavily involved with the National Review, hardly makes Regnerus’s duplicitous, disingenuous statement in that publication look any better.
Regnerus should immediately make a public statement, acknowledging that 1) UT’s Institutional Review Board did not evaluate his study plan for scientific soundness, and apologizing for 2) any of his past statements that were ambiguous or misleading on this point.
You should know, additionally, President Powers, that Regnerus was interviewed by Andrew Ferguson for The Weekly Standard, in an article so favorable to Regnerus that it showed a drawing of poor little Regnerus on the magazine cover, being tortured by masked men in black hoods.
As you can see, I am not putting any black hood over my face, and my criticisms of Regnerus are firstly, science based, and secondly, geared towards exposing the fact that Regnerus appears to be politically in collusion with his study’s funders.
Regnerus told Ferguson that his study’s test-group, control-group comparison is “arguably unfair” to gay parents.
Were the key issue fairness, there would be no arguing about the fact that Regnerus’s test-group, control-group comparison is unfair.
However, the issue is not one of fairness; the issue is one of scientific legitimacy. Regnerus’s cherry-picked control group is not scientifically legitimate, given the comparison he made with it to his test group.
Cherry picking a control group so that a “study” demonizes the minority test group that the study’s funders want demonized is dishonest, and a form of lying.
A weasel, not a sociologist of genuine integrity, says that his test-group, control-group comparison is “arguably unfair.”
Why is the University of Texas at Austin not acting more quickly against Regnerus, an academic fraud corrupted by an organization whose heads have authority over an organization guilty of at least 18 counts of campaign finance law violations; an academic fraud who cheapens the value of every UT degree for as long as he is not disciplined?
Hopefully, you are aware of the documented fact that the Regnerus “study” was only published through corrupt peer review.
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